Tuesday, December 8, 2009

34. Bobby and Jackie by C. David Heymann

I love Jackie Kennedy. I really do. It's mainly her iconic sense of style, but I also admire the fact that above all else she was a survivor. I have a few biographies written about her, including one called A Woman Named Jackie by C. David Heymann, who also wrote Bobby and Jackie. [Side note: I keep trying to type Jackie and Bobby, which shows my clear bias.] When I read a review of this book in People, I clipped it and saved it until I was ready for another biography.

If the Kennedys -- and Jackie in particular -- interest you at all, you should definitely read this book. It's a fairly quick read, only covering in depth the time period of the alleged affair (1964-1968). Heymann quotes numerous members of the Kennedys' inner circle, many of whom he states are only now willing to go on the record about the "open secret" of Jackie and Bobby's affair. According to those interviewed, so many people were in on the secret that it's amazing the story didn't break at the time. Jackie and Bobby are portrayed as close friends whose bond deepened after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, eventually leading to a long-term affair and the realization that they were each the love of the other's life. The affair came to an amicable end while Bobby was running for president. It's an interesting read, although you have to decide for yourself how much of the story that you believe. Although Heymann is careful to provide sources, there is no concrete proof or evidence of the relationship.

I didn't really plan to read this book directly after In the President's Secret Service, but I'm glad that I did. It was interesting to read about the circumstances of the JFK and RFK assassinations with a stronger grasp on Secret Service protocol. For example, Bobby was entitled to Secret Service protection while running for president, but opted not to use it. Instead, he hired two bodyguards -- neither of whom he allowed to carry guns. Both of the brothers -- especially Bobby -- felt that if someone wanted to get to them, they would find a way. And neither wanted to be separated from the public that they were trying to connect with.

I have to mention that this is the first book that I've read using Kindle for PC. It's awesome! You can install Kindle software on your computer for free and buy Kindle books (usually $9.99 each) to read onscreen. Many thanks to Annie & Doug for the idea!

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