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Publisher's Summary

The untold story of how one woman’s life was changed forever in a matter of seconds by a horrific trauma.
Barbara Leaming’s extraordinary and deeply sensitive biography is the first book to document Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ brutal, lonely, and valiant 31-year struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following 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.
©2014 Barbara Leaming (P)2014 Macmillan Audio
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Customer Reviews

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By Jean on 11-07-14

Has New Information

This is Barbara Leaming’s third Kennedy biography. The first third of the book recycles considerable material from the first biography minus the dubious theories. Learning’s major fault as a biographer is her tendency to mind read. In this biography learning has considerable documentation from a variety of sources. The author details after the assassination how Bobby Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson sought to comfort her and to use her politically.

The main or key thrust of Leaming’s book is her claim that Jackie had PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). She documents the clinical symptoms including flashbacks, insomnia, numbness, avoidance, fear, depression and anger. The author also points out that the condition was not medically recognized until 1980. The author claims Jackie fought her way back to good mental health through her work in publishing and her contributions to land mark preservation. The author documents that Jackie’s Sister Lee Radziwell told that Bobby Kennedy’s assassination triggered a recurrence of the PTSD in Jackie. When the British poet Stephen Spender asked in 1980, about her greatest achievement, she told him, “I think it is that after going through a rather difficult time, I consider myself comparatively sane, I am proud of that.”

One of the iconic women of the 20th century, Jackie Kennedy, is such an interesting story and how her life and that of the country was dramatically changed on the terrible day in Dallas. According to the author Jackie spent the rest of her life attempting to heal from that horrific day in Dallas. Eliza Foss did a good job narrating the book.


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13 of 14 people found this review helpful


By Ariadne on 01-01-15

Interesting but at times repetitive

Any additional comments?

Interesting story, in-depth research, and compelling narrative, but often repetitive, especially as it relates to the PTSD aspect. This is my first lengthy encounter with Jackie Kennedy, and, although I admire her for her perseverance, I did not find her very inspiring or likable. She comes across as canning and opportunistic. I was hoping for a strength and nobility of character, but I did not find them in this biography. I was more inspired by Catherine the Great. Eliza Foss's narration was excellent.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By gmb on 09-23-16

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

An extremely incisive book on the life of Jacqueline Kennedy after the Presidents assassination. Thoroughly recommended.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful


By Frankimunk on 05-03-16

Absolutely brilliant

Who knew that Jackie Kennedy suffered the rest of her life of Extreme PTSD after the assassination of her husband President JFKennedy? Not me, so this well written book is very interesting and revealing.
Jackie unaware of her condition suffered terribly during her life because little was known or understood about PTSD in the 60s.
At last-minute book that does her justice and credit for a much maligned and misunderstood life..

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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