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Just Jackie

“Just when we thought nothing could shock us about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s well-publicized life, along comes Just Jackie: Her Private Years. Edward Kleins new biography of Jackie’s post-JFK years opens with a knockout punch.”

—New York Daily News

“[Klein] ends up doing quite a job of rehabilitating the image of Jackie in those years that she married and divorced Aristotle Onassis, lived and worked in Manhattan, and raised her children…. Touching details of her tragic illness and untimely death.”

—Liz Smith

New York Post

“Klein pumps schoolgirl chums, Secret Service agents, and other intimates to get the dish on the superstar First Lady.”

—Vanity Fair

“Just Jackie gives us a legend, warts and all.”

—Rocky Mountain News


These incidents are balanced with other vignettes that show an extraordinary woman battling back from a series of calamities that would have crushed a lesser person.”

—Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

“Each [chapter] reads like a quick click of a camera giving readers snapshots of Jackie. By the end Klein has written a succinct biography while engendering enormous feelings and emotions. There are so many memorable moments on these pages…. The real story is about survival against enormous odds and how at the end of her life Jackie found both peace and contentment, as well as a graceful acceptance of where she was, and where she had been.”

—The Book Report

“Klein tracked down hundreds of sources in order to tell how the American icon raised her kids, found true love, and, ultimately, art-directed her own deathbed scene.”

—Harper’s Bazaar

“Detail after detail about whom she loved and what she did with her days and, ultimately, how she found happiness.”

—The Providence Journal

“Jackie probably had a greater impact on history than her husband. She provided Americans with an unforgettable performance as a national heroine at a time when it was desperately needed. And, somehow, she survived our adulation to become a person in her own right.”

—Houston Chronicle

“Provide[s] intimate details about the president and first lady’s last night together and her reaction to seeing his body at Dallas’s Parkland Memorial Hospital.”

—Wahsington Times

“[An] enlightening biography.”

—The Register-Herald (WV)

By Edward Klein



    (Coauthored with Richard Littell and Richard Chesnoff)



ALL TOO HUMAN: The Love Story of Jack and Jackie Kennedy

JUST JACKIE: Her Private Years*

*Published by Ballantine Books

Books published by The Ballantine Publishing Group are available at quantity discounts on bulk purchases for premium, educational, fund-raising, and special sales use. For details, please call 1-800-733-3000.

To Michael Sacks


I first began writing about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis almost a decade ago, in a cover story that appeared in Vanity Fair in the fall of 1989. Over the years, many people have helped me separate the wheat of truth from the chaff of tabloid invention about Jackie. Such guidance proved to be even more important for this book, which is about the least documented—and most controversial—period of Jackie’s life, her private, post-White House years.

Of the several hundred people who agreed to speak on and off the record for this book, I owe a special note of appreciation to Stelio Papadimitriou, Niki Goulandris, John Carl Warnecke, John Loring, Jack Anderson, Les Whitten, Ralph Graves, Peter Beard, Michael Beschloss, and Robert Lindsey.

In addition, contributions were made by Elizabeth Folberth, Linda Puner, Alfred Fariello, Deborah Creighton, Molly Ginty, Justine Fontinell, Anita Goss, and Amy Steiner.

My research assistants and I were steered in the right direction by Eulalie Regan at the Vineyard Gazette, Claudia Anderson at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, and Jane Payne at the John F. Kennedy Library.

At Ballantine Books, I want to thank Judith Curr, who shared my vision from the outset, as well as Peter Borland, Ellen Archer, and Emily Grayson.

My agent Robert Gottlieb and his associate at the William Morris Agency, Marcy Posner, provided wise counsel throughout the project.

My editors, Walter Anderson at Parade and Graydon Carter at Vanity Fair, were unstinting in their encouragement.

Finally, I want to express my gratitude to my wife, Dolores Barrett. Her intelligence, insight, and loving kindness sustained me throughout the long months that it took to research and write this book.




Friday Evening, November 29, 1963


A giant thunderbolt split open the night sky, and in the shuddering light a car emerged from a swirl of fog and raced on through the storm. Slumped in the backseat was the journalist Theodore White, a stubby little man in his late forties with thinning hair and an owlish expression. He took a slug from a plastic bottle that contained a decanted pint of Scotch whisky—his self-imposed allotment of alcohol for the long hours that lay ahead.

There was another huge flash of lightning, followed this time by a thumping crash of thunder. White peered out the window at the flooded stretch of highway. It was coming down in solid sheets of water, just the way it had rained a week ago on the night President Kennedy’s body was brought back from Dallas in a dark bronze coffin.

White had covered the assassination and the three-day pageant of Kennedy’s funeral for Life magazine. He was still physically exhausted and emotionally drained from the experience. Now, however, he found himself in a rented limousine, with a strange chauffeur, driving at breakneck speed through an old-fashioned northeaster on his way to another assignment for Life.

“There is something I want Life magazine to say to the country,” the President’s widow, Jacqueline Kennedy, had told White during a brief phone conversation from her home on Cape Cod, “and you must do it.”

White did not know what Jackie had in mind, but he could guess why she had chosen him above all other journalists to carry her message to the American people. He was the author of The Making of the President 1960, a book that had caught the mood and the strains of the election campaign, and that helped give

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