Jackie, Janet and Lee: The Secret Lives of Janet Auchincloss and Her Daughters, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Lee Radziwill

J. Randy Taraborrelli. St. Martin’s, $29.99 (528p) ISBN 978-1-2501-2801-0
A formidable mother teaches her daughters to rise in the world by putting cold calculation before romance in this canny family portrait. Taraborrelli (Jackie, Ethel, Joan: Women of Camelot) traces the fraught relationship between First Lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis and her rivalrous celebrity sister Lee Radziwill as they dueled for popularity, men, and the approval of their mother Janet Auchincloss, an imperious matriarch who manipulated them as sternly as Joseph P. Kennedy did his offspring. Auchincloss’s battle between heart and head—she married first a charming, virile womanizer, then a stolid, impotent plutocrat to secure her finances—laid the template for her daughters: Kennedy Onassis rehashed it by rejecting merely affluent suitors (usually at her mother’s insistence) to marry into the “real money” of charming, womanizing J.F.K. and Aristotle Onassis (after wrestling him away from an affair with Radziwill—always the lesser marital strategist—and negotiating a $5 million prenuptial payment for her hand). Taraborrelli’s gossipy narrative revels in luxurious decor, stunning outfits, and soap-operatic fights (“Janet just hauled off and slapped her daughter across the face, twice”) in this entertaining saga of how wealthy, fashionable women got that way. Photos. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/09/2017
Release date: 01/30/2018
Compact Disc - 978-1-4272-9309-1
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