A Woman Named Jackie

Any excerpted version of this book, such as the tabloid newspapers run, barely scratches the surface of the wealth of information Heymann has gathered on Jackie Onassis. Not only the most scandalous aspects of her life, but even the mundane details that fill this book take the reader into a private world of thoughts and actions that only the subject herself could have known before they were compiled here. Heymann’s account is an entertaining, gossipy look at the well-known people associated with Jackie: the black-sheep of the Bouvier family, the entire Kennedy clan, movie stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Gloria Swanson, political aides and cronies of John F. Kennedy, opera star Maria Callas, and of course Aristotle Onassis and his children.

Some items that were only speculated upon previously, such as President Kennedy’s womanizing, are brought into the open. Behind-the-scene reports of a bomb scare, of Jackie’s snubbing notable people, of dissension between famous in-laws, of Jackie’s actions at the time of her husband’s assassination, of every little facet of life, are related by the people involved. Jackie is part of history, and people are familiar with the skeletal outline of her life, but it is the fleshing out and filling in done by acquaintances that makes this book fascinating.

Heymann’s narrative flows well, with smooth transitions from one person’s quotation to the next. Chapter notes are appended at the end of the book, as are acknowledgments, and extensive bibliography, and an excellent index.