Having finished this book a short time ago, I feel as if I've been put through the wringer emotionally. The lives of President Kennedy and the First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy seem to be the stuff of which epic novels and poems are made. Yet, they were very real people faced with many difficult challenges and tragedies. By her own admission, Jackie Kennedy once confided to a close friend that life without JFK would have "all been a wasteland, and I would have known it every step of the way."
The book begins with the moment of John F. Kennedy's election as President of the U.S. in 1960 and takes the reader through the thousand days of his Administration. The reader comes to be acquainted with a variety of people great and small who were either a part of President Kennedy's inner circle, worked closely with him or Jacqueline Kennedy on the various projects and endeavors that came to symbolize the achievements and legacy of the Kennedy White House, or knew the President on a deeply personal, intimate level. This book is no hagiography. Nor is it a scathing critique of the Kennedy Administration. It is, rather, a full, comprehensive, balanced and objective (inasmuch as any account of a great, historical figure's life as a biography can be) of what was a truly remarkable human being and President.
For any reader wanting to know more about JFK and the people whose lives were directly touched and influenced by him, the author has at least 100 pages of notes which amply attest to the amount of thorough research she carried out on her subject: the Kennedy White House years.
More than anything, "Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House" has deepened my fascination with President Kennedy. He and his wife inspired Americans to be the best of what they could be, using their talents and labors to help build a better society through public service, encouraged the flowering of the arts and culture in a way that has seldom been done in this country, and spoke to the noblest aspirations of people the world over. Here was a leader with wit, a fierce intelligence, style, courage, great compassion, and class who, even in death, continues to inspire millions. President Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy cast a light across the firmament that continues to blaze brightly. This is a book that I RECOMMEND HIGHLY for anyone who wants to understand why they became special to us and remain so.