Best Books About the Kennedy Family
Jackie, Janet & Lee by J. Randy Taraborrelli
In this revealing biography, Taraborrelli explores the complicated relationship between Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, her mother Janet Lee Auchincloss, and her sister, Princess Lee Radziwill. Though the two sisters became two of the most idolized women of the 20th century, they struggled with sibling jealousy and constantly sought "money and power" -- which their mother told them was "the secret to happily-ever-after." "It’s not to say Jackie did not love J.F.K. and [Aristotle] Onassis in her own way," the author told PEOPLE. "She did. But if they were not well off, she would not have been with them."
Buy It! Jackie, Janet & Lee, $29.99; amazon.com
Fairy Tale Interrupted by RoseMarie Terenzio
In this 2013 memoir, Terenzio, who worked as an executive assistant to John F. Kennedy Jr. during his years running George magazine, recounts her friendship with Kennedy and his wife Carolyn Bessette. “John and Carolyn were incredibly unique," she tells PEOPLE of the glamorous pair, who died tragically in a plane crash on July 16, 1999. "They were a warm and loving couple who handled their fame with humility and grace.”
Buy It! Fairy Tale Interrupted, $15; amazon.com
What Remains by Carole Radziwill
Before she was a Real Housewife, Radziwill was a news journalist who was married to Jacqueline Kennedy's nephew Anthony Radziwill, who died of cancer just weeks after JFK Jr. and wife Carolyn Bessette perished in a plane crash. In her book, Carole tells of the close bond she and Anthony shared with the couple, and how she coped with the loss of her husband and her dearest friends.
Buy It! What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship and Love, $16; amazon.com
Jack: A Life Like No Other by Geoffrey Perret
Written in two parts, Perret gives an insightful account of JFK leading up to and during his time in the White House. Referencing government documents, Kennedy diaries and discussions that occurred in the White House, Jack is a thorough biography of the man before he was shrouded in myth.
Buy It! Jack, $16.95; amazon.com
Jackie's Girl: My Life with the Kennedy Family by Kathy McKeon
From helping raise Caroline and John in the White House to Jackie Kennedy's romance with Aristotle Onassis, Kathy McKeon was part of the Kennedy family in a way no other outsider was. Serving as the First Lady's live-in assistant for more than a decade, she helped the Kennedys cope with loss and dramatic change. "I was just a girl when Jackie Kennedy made me part of the family and I lived through so much with all of them," said McKeon, 72, in a statement announcing the book. "My grandchildren are learning about that era in school now, and my story is a chance to let them experience the humanity behind the history, as I once did."
Buy It! Jackie's Girl, $26; amazon.com
JFK Jr., George, & Me by Matt Berman
Berman is the former creative director for John Kennedy Jr.'s magazine, George. As such he had intimate interactions with JFK Jr. on a daily basis, which he captures in this memoir. Rather than being the mythic son of one of America's favorite presidents, JFK Jr. is seen as the imperfect, brilliant and kind man that he was. Said Berman in an interview with PEOPLE, "John was more famous than any celebrity but in a weird way, he was the simplest person."
Buy It! JFK Jr., George, & Me, $16; amazon.com
Kick Kennedy: The Charmed Life and Tragic Death of the Favorite Kennedy Daughter by Barbara Leaming
At first, Kick Kennedy's life was magical. She socialized with the British aristocracy after her father became the U.S. Ambassador to England and fell in love with a future duke. But her story quickly turned into one as tragic as that of Romeo and Juliet. Her parents rejected her and she suffered unbelievable loss before her own death in 1948. Despite the tragedy, Leaming reveals that Kick Kennedy was "the star" of her renowned family.
Buy It! Kick Kennedy, $16.99; amazon.com
The Missing Kennedy: Rosemary Kennedy and the Secret Bonds of Four Women by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff
Though Rosemary, JFK's sister, was born to a well-established family, that didn't spare her from pain and misfortune. At the age of 23, her father Joseph P. Kennedy had her undergo a lobotomy that left her incapacitated. Written by her caretaker's niece, The Missing Kennedy is one of the first books to bring Rosemary's full story into the light.
Buy It! The Missing Kennedy, $15.95; amazon.com
Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford by Clint Hill
Hill spent 17 years in the Secret Service and served five presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford. One of the most horrifying moments of his career was when he threw his body over JFK and the First Lady in an attempt to save them both. That haunting day is detailed in his book, as well as his insider's perspective of the Kennedy White House.
Buy It! Five Presidents, $16; amazon.com
The Dark Side of Camelot by Seymour M. Hersh
This work of investigative journalism created an outcry when it was first published in 1997, for depicting JFK "as a man whose reckless personal behavior imperiled his presidency." The book also addresses one of JFK's sexier misdeeds: his rumored affair with actress Marilyn Monroe. According to Hersh, her "instability posed a constant threat" to the President before she mysteriously overdosed at age 36 in 1962.
Buy It! The Dark Side of Camelot, $18; amazon.com
Once Upon A Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath by Mimi Alford
In her 2012 memoir, Alford details her alleged 18-month-long affair with JFK while she was an intern at the White House. Though she described him as "magnetic," she told PEOPLE "he wasn’t looking for a relationship to replace his marriage." No matter his intentions, the memoir adds one more lover to his history of alleged affairs.
Buy It! Once Upon A Secret, $17; amazon.com