I picked it up hesitantly figuring, I’ve read it all before, but after reading the prologue that recaps John’s last fatal moments, I was hooked. Hey, I’m only human.
Two things struck me…one, that he had no idea the Piper Saratoga he was flying had two buttons to activate that would have automatically flown him safely from New Jersey to Massachusetts. Once there, it would have even executed a perfect three-point landing at Martha’s Vineyard Airport.
The definition of hubris is…excessive pride or self-confidence.
If he had taken the time to learn about his new plane, we’d still have him and two others basking in the pre-winter sunlight.
The other fact that struck me was how young Jackie Kennedy was when she died….just 64. I too, like many others, see her only as the first lady in 1963 standing so stoically draped in black at 34 years-old beside her children and fallen husband.
Her Onassis years mean little to me.
Anderson in the book misses nothing. Despite its poignancy, he as any author wanting to sell books, adds the sensationalism we all clearly crave.
Her expenditures on shoes…60.000 dollars for 200 pair at one point….how she sold her designer clothes at resale shops. Ari’s admittance at making a terrible mistake.
Ted Kennedy negotiating a crude settlement with Christina Onassis in the backseat of a limousine at her father’s funeral causing her to jump from the car to join her aunts in the one following behind.
Sad faces at her home at 1040 Fifth, as Jackie laid in her coffin, while an old-fashioned Irish wake took place…Caroline crestfallen on the couch…John holding court.
People wondered how someone so fit who jogged every day could possibly die that young. We forget the trauma in Dallas, how she smoked at least two packs of cigarettes a day her whole adult life. She got what then were referred to as vitamin shots to keep her going during her White House years we now now were lethal doses of amphetamine. She starved herself to stay thin turning a blind eye to her husband’s chronic philandering that, I don’t care what any French woman says, chips the spirit bone dry.
For all her lionization, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis paid a price.
It bothered me reading John could have been buried at Arlington National Cemetery next to his parents if his mother-in-law didn’t so object, her daughter not earning the same privilege. For the sake of history despite her grief, she should have realized there was more here than her own personal loss. That may sound harsh, but for me history reigns.
But what I really took with me as I rounded the pages was what a great mom Jackie was, and if John had lived, would have been probably one of the greatest, natural statesmen of our time. More than his dad or his Uncle Bobby…simply because he inherited all that was good and fine from everyone who ever touched his short life.
If only he had taken pause on that fateful day, he’d still be among us.
He would have been 54 years-old today.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. (November 25, 1960 – July 16, 1999)
The Good Son….Christopher Anderson highly recommended by anyone interested in the Kennedy legacy.