A poignant, evocative, and wonderfully gossipy account of the two sisters who represented style and class above all else—Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Lee Radziwill—from the authors of Furious Love.
When sixty-four-year-old Jackie Kennedy Onassis died in her Fifth Avenue apartment, her younger sister Lee wept inconsolably. Then Jackie’s thirty-eight-page will was read. Lee discovered that substantial cash bequests were left to family members, friends, and employees—but nothing to her. "I have made no provision in this my Will for my sister, Lee B. Radziwill, for whom I have great affection, because I have already done so during my lifetime," read Jackie’s final testament. Drawing on the authors’ candid interviews with Lee Radziwill, The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters explores their complicated relationship, placing them at the center of twentieth-century fashion, design, and style.
In life, Jackie and Lee were alike in so many ways. Both women had a keen eye for beauty—in fashion, design, painting, music, dance, sculpture, poetry—and both were talented artists. Both loved pre-revolutionary Russian culture, and the blinding sunlight, calm seas, and ancient olive groves of Greece. Both loved the siren call of the Atlantic, sharing sweet, early memories of swimming with the rakish father they adored, Jack Vernou Bouvier, at his East Hampton retreat. But Jackie was her father’s favorite, and Lee, her mother’s. One would grow to become the most iconic woman of her time, while the other lived in her shadow. As they grew up, the two sisters developed an extremely close relationship threaded with rivalry, jealousy, and competition. Yet it was probably the most important relationship of their lives.
For the first time, Vanity Fair contributing editor Sam Kashner and acclaimed biographer Nancy Schoenberger tell the complete story of these larger-than-life sisters. Drawing on new information and extensive interviews with Lee, now eighty-four, this dual biography sheds light on the public and private lives of two extraordinary women who lived through immense tragedy in enormous glamour.
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About the Author
Sam Kashner is the author of four nonfiction books, including the memoir When I Was Cool: My Life at the Jack Kerouac School, and one novel, Sinatraland. He has written extensively for Vanity Fair as a contributing editor.
Nancy Schoenberger is the author of Dangerous Muse: the Life of Lady Caroline Blackwood; Wayne and Ford: the Films, The Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero; and three prize-winning books of poetry. She teaches at The College of William and Mary where she directs the Creative Writing Program.
Poet and biographer Nancy Schoenberger is the author of Dangerous Muse: The Life of Lady Caroline Blackwood. She directs the Creative Writing Program at the College of William and Mary.
Table of Contents
Prologue: "Girls Who Have Everything Are Not Supposed to Do Anything" 1
1 Lee Radziwill in New York 9
2 Jacks and Pekes in Paradise 17
3 Americans in Paris 47
4 London Calling 75
5 Bouvier Style: The White House Years 109
6 The Traveling Sisters 161
7 Swan Dive 211
8 The Golden Greek 237
9 This Side of Paradise: Return to New York 279
10 Working Girls 333
11 Weddings and Funerals 385
12 Lee Radziwill in the South of France 433
Acknowledgments and a Note on Sources 447
About the Authors 463
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It was an interesting look into the highs and lows of an elite society. Add the entangled relationship of two sisters, and it made for an interesting read. I learned a lot about them that I didn’t know before.