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Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis never wrote a memoir, but she told her life story and revealed herself in intimate ways through the nearly 100 books she brought into print as an editor at Viking and Doubleday during the last two decades of her life. Many Americans regarded Jackie as the paragon of grace, but few knew her as the woman sitting on her office floor laying out illustrations, or flying to California to persuade Michael Jackson to write his autobiography. William Kuhn provides a behind-the-scenes look at Jackie at work: commissioning books and nurturing authors, helping to shape stories that spoke to her. Based on archives and interviews with her authors, colleagues, and friends, Reading Jackie reveals the serious and the mischievous woman underneath the glamorous public image.
“A fascinating window into an aspect of Jackie Kennedy Onassis that few of us know.” —USA Today
“Sheds new light on the part of Jackie’s life that she most clearly chose for herself. . . . An essential chapter in a remarkable life. . . . What’s clear from [Reading Jackie] is that Jackie was a remarkably perceptive and sensitive editor with a regard for writing and a sense of what makes writing good—far more than just a socialite in an office with a drop-dead Rolodex.” —Los Angeles Times
“This book shows Jackie not as a First Lady or fashion icon, but as an intellectual, well-read woman.” —New York Daily News
“Jackie O loved powerful men, but her passion was for writers. . . . [Kuhn] reveals some fascinating facts about the literary Jackie.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“William Kuhn reveals the Jackie I knew as a person and professional: serious, smart, intuitive about ideas and aesthetics, but also down to earth in the sense of understanding the potential audience for a book. In Reading Jackie I learned so much about her I didn’t know, and Kuhn tells the story with such flowing grace of phrase and structure. A splendid work.” —Bill Moyers
“Unexpectedly and intelligently dishy. . . . Quite a fascinating portrait of a complex woman, who had the interests and enthusiasms of her class and was allowed to indulge those passions with singular force and focus.”
—The Boston Globe
“It is enlightening to see [Jackie] not simply as the stylish wife of two powerful men, but also as a career woman who oversaw the publication of close to 100 books in her two decades at Viking and Doubleday, and to know she was greatly admired by both her peers and the authors she edited.” —The Star-Ledger
“Absorbing. . . . Fascinating. . . . A treat for bibliophiles and Jackiephiles—and especially for those whom those interests overlap.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Enlightening and surprising. . . . Impeccably researched. . . . Provides insights that would never have been available to outsiders.” —Buffalo News
“Embedded in the book is a fascinating look at the vanities of New York publishing in the late 20th century: how books got acquired, edited and sold; how the tastes of a few individuals shaped reading habits of the masses.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Reading Jackie illuminates a literary life. . . . The portrait that emerges is of a highly cultured, witty woman who loved ballet, art and history and developed a deep knowledge of many topics.” —Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“[Kuhn] makes the compelling argument that Onassis was much more intellectual and thoughtful than many portrayals in the media suggested.” —Town and Country