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Can't Get Enough of Jackie and JFK

August 26, 1996|CONNIE KOENENN

Were Jack and Jackie really in love when they married in 1953? Did Jackie know about Jack's womanizing?

Such gossipy subjects are examined in two new books: "All Too Human: The Love Story of Jack and Jackie Kennedy," by Edward Klein (Pocket Books), and "Jack and Jackie: Portrait of an American Marriage," by Christopher Andersen (William Morrow).

Each book purports to reveal new insight into the true nature of the planet's most celebrated couple. Some samples:

Was Jack in love with Jackie?

Andersen: "According to Evelyn Lincoln, the marriage was forced on Jack Kennedy by his father. 'He was a politician who wanted to be president and for that he needed a wife. I am absolutely certain they were not in love. At least not at the time.' "

Klein: Jack "had never been in love, never lost himself with a woman. Was it different with Jackie? Did he love her? He appreciated her. She had poise and refinement. She was just what the Kennedys had in mind when they talked about self-improvement."

Was Jackie in love with Jack?

Andersen quotes Gore Vidal: "Jackie married Jack for money. Purely. There weren't that many other openings for her. Actually, if she hadn't married Jack she would have married someone else with money. . . . When given a chance of glory or money, most people choose glory. But not Jackie."

Klein: "Jackie harbored her own serious reservations about marrying Jack. . . . She loved Jack--there was no doubt in her mind about that--but she worried about losing her identity in the big, raucous Kennedy family."

Jackie's psychology:

Klein: "Jack Kennedy's friend Chuck Spalding observed that 'She wasn't sexually attracted to men unless they were dangerous like old Black Jack [Bouvier, her father]. It was one of those terribly obvious Freudian situations. We all talked about it--even Jack, who didn't particularly go for Freud but said that Jackie had a 'father crush.' What was surprising was that Jackie, who was so intelligent in other things, didn't seem to have a clue about this one."

Jack's psychology:

Klein: "Like many Irish-Catholic men of his time, Jack divided the female sex into two categories--wanton women for pleasure, and Madonna types for bearing children. Sex was either animalistic (and fun) or pure (and boring). In either case, the man was always supposed to feel that he was superior. . . ."

The extent of Jack's love affairs while president:

Andersen: "The Secret Service agents were not only apprised of all the president's womanizing, but played the major role in concealing those activities from the press and public. At private parties where the president might be seen in the company of Marilyn Monroe, Angie Dickinson, or even Jayne Mansfield . . . agents warned waitresses, bartenders, busboys and parking attendants never to disclose what they'd witnessed."

. . . and Jackie's reaction:

Klein: "Jackie always acted as though she did not notice what Jack was up to, even though only a blind person could have missed his flagrant behavior."

The 1963 death of their infant son, Patrick:

Andersen: " 'They were both shattered by Patrick's death," said Teddy White. 'And for the first time, Jack reached out to her as he had never done. . . ."

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