Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story


Author: Barbara Leaming
Genre: Biography, Non Fiction, History
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN: 9781250017642

Book summary:
Barbara Leaming’s extraordinary and deeply sensitive biography is the first book to document Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ brutal, lonely and valiant thirty-one year struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that followed JFK’s assassination.

Here is the woman as she has never been seen before. In heartrending detail, we witness a struggle that unfolded at times before our own eyes, but which we failed to understand.

Leaming’s biography also makes clear the pattern of Jackie’s life as a whole. We see how a spirited young woman’s rejection of a predictable life led her to John F. Kennedy and the White House, how she sought to reconcile the conflicts of her marriage and the role she was to play, and how the trauma of her husband’s murder which left her soaked in his blood and brains led her to seek a very different kind of life from the one she’d previously sought.

A life story that has been scrutinized countless times, seen here for the first time as the serious and important story that it is. A story for our times at a moment when we as a nation need more than ever to understand the impact of trauma.


This book is very intense. I was really surprised by everything that had happened to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. I have never read anything about Jacqueline or John F Kennedy. The only thing I knew about them was what I had learned in school or by listening to others talk about them. So going into this I was not really prepared for what was going to happen.

Mrs. Onassis’ life was rough. Before she married she seemed to be searching for a life that was different from the one she was brought up in, but once she married her life was not her own. By marrying JFK her life became everyone’s business. And her life with JFK seemed rough with everything she had to deal with. No matter what, she still loved JFK and after his assassination her life was void of feel and she had a severe case of PTSD. Many years later she remarried to a man that could protect her from the dangers in the world but it was not a marriage out of love. The only time it seemed like her life was really her own, was when she decided to get a job at a publishing house in New York. Although there were ups and many downs she tried to not let it affect her in this new life.

Everything that Jacqueline Kennedy has been through is tough. Her actions are always talked about, she has stalking paparazzi, and no matter what she does no one seems to approve. I was so surprised by how quickly everyone seemed to turn on her and talk negatively about her. Especially since none of them actually knew her.

I wished that she was able to move on after JFK was killed but she just seemed stuck on that one day. While reading I was always hoping that she would start coming out of her shell and begin a new life with her children. Unfortunately, that was not the case so hopefully she has found peace in the afterlife where she does not have to worry about someone coming after her or her children next.

I was lucky enough to win this book in the goodreads giveaway and I am glad I had the chance to learn about Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. For any one that is interested in reading about her then I definitely recommend this book but be prepared, it is intense. One thing that I really liked was that the writer added a lot of information about what was going on in the world and Kennedy’s presidency. This helps the reader understand everything that was happening in Jacqueline’s life.


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