Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation

Ellen Fitzpatrick, Author
Ellen Fitzpatrick, Author Ecco $26.99 (355p) ISBN 978-0-06-196984-3
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-06-199125-7
Paperback - 351 pages - 978-0-06-196982-9
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The national struggle to make sense of President Kennedy's assassination included an outpouring of mail sent to Kennedy's much-loved widow, Jacqueline, some 800,000 letters, which had been in storage until professor and author Fitzpatrick (History's Memory: Writing America's Past) took on the Herculean task of curating them. Here, she attempts to create a meaningful narrative out of the nation's massive record of grief-a real anomaly in a time when writing to public figures was frowned upon-by examining different groups (widows, African Americans, children) and examining the impact Kennedy made on every American, regardless of politics, which lead ultimately to his legend. Despite its power and significance, the material is repetitive and may overwhelm; those with the patience to wade through, however, will be rewarded with a you-are-there feel for this turning point in history.
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