From the moment of their births, John and Caroline Kennedy occupied a central position in what is generally regarded as the most famous family in the United States, if not the world. Even as young children growing up in the White House, their most subtle gestures and actions made headlines.... Yet until now they have not been the subject of a dual biography. In that sense, this volume represents a first.
In American Legacy, #1 New York Times bestselling author C. David Heymann draws upon a voluminous archive of personal interviews to present a telling portrait of John and Caroline Kennedy. A longtime biographer of various members of the Kennedy clan, including Jackie and Robert Kennedy, Heymann covers John's and Caroline's childhood in the White House, the dark aftermath of their father's assassination, their uneasy adolescence, and the many challenges they faced as adults, all under the glaring eye of the media. He reveals John's and Caroline's loving but at times trying relationship with their larger-than-life mother, as well as Jackie's own emotional struggles, romantic relationships, and financial concerns following JFK's death.
Other revelations brought to light for the first time in American Legacy include the assassination attempt made on Jackie just before she gave birth to John; JFK Jr.'s romantic escapades prior to marrying Carolyn Bessette and accounts of the predominantly happy marriage they shared despite criticisms from questionable sources; the shocking report of the autopsy performed on John following the tragic plane crash that killed him, Carolyn, and her sister Lauren; Caroline's rise to become one of the wealthiest women in America and her life now as the sole keeper of her family's magnificently complex legacy.
Utterly compelling and full of new and fascinating details, American Legacy overturns much of what we thought we knew about two of the most talked-about members of the Kennedy family.
The latest tell-all biography from bestseller Heymann, sure to become a common sight at beaches across America, is a look at the life of John Kennedy, Jr. that remains compelling despite the fact hat much of the material here has been covered elsewhere (not least in Heymann's RFK and A Woman Named Jackie). Heymann shows sympathy and admiration for the Kennedy family, but doesn't blanch at presenting the seamier side of Camelot-including sexual exploits, drugs and alcohol abuse. The book begins with a riveting account of John Jr.'s fatal 1999 plane crash, what Heymann characterizes as an accident waiting to happen: "He knew just enough about piloting to be considered dangerous," especially in collusion with factors like "alcohol, pharmaceuticals, a broken ankle... to say nothing of youth, folly, and overconfidence." Naturally, Jackie Onassis plays a big role, especially in John-John's early years; Heymann illustrates to heart-breaking effect what a devoted mother she was, shielding her children from media overexposure and the siren call of celebrity to the best of her ability while also dealing with a husband who was famously unfaithful and publicly murdered. A typical Kennedy life story, haunted by fame and tragedy, this volume won't surprise anyone who's well-read on the subject, but it's a fine, emotional summer read for anyone who daydreams of American royalty.