Musings From A Bookmammal

NONFICTION NOVEMBER: WEEK 2–Become The Expert / Books About The Kennedys


NF November 2014Welcome to week #2 of NONFICTION NOVEMBER—the second annual celebration of all things nonfiction! I participated last year and had so much fun meeting new bloggers and adding great nonfiction titles to my TBR list! If you’re into reading nonfiction and want to join in the fun, just click on the graphic to visit this week’s  linkup. A new prompt and linkup will be posted every Monday throughout November. Be prepared, though—your TBR list will explode with great NF books!

This week, participants are invited to create  a nonfiction reading list covering any subject. It’s a chance to be an expert on the nonfiction topic of your own choosing! Or, you can put out an inquiry to the  bloggers who are participating and ask for suggestions for books on any nonfiction subject. This was by far my favorite week of last year’s Nonfiction November!

I’ve been intrigued by the Kennedy family for as long as I can remember. Although I certainly don’t admire everything about them, I find the Kennedys endlessly fascinating, and I’ve read and collected many books about the members of this huge American family over the years. In fact, I have a whole section of one of my bookcases devoted to books on this subject. Here are some of my favorites. I’ve read all of these more than once, and these are the ones that I tend to recommend the most:

13588421Patriarch: The Remarkable Life And Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy by David Nasaw       No matter what your opinion is about Joseph P Kennedy, you have to admit that the man lived an incredibly fascinating (and ultimately tragic) life. This is a wonderfully thorough biography of the man who created the foundation–and the finances!– for the Kennedy dynasty.


1338253The Day Kennedy Was Shot by Jim Bishop    This was the first Kennedy book that I ever read, and it’s an almost minute-by-minute account of the events of November 22, 1963.  I read this book for the first time when I was in high school, and I’ve re-read it many times since then. There was quite a bit of controversy when this book was originally published—it was definitely NOT endorsed by the Kennedy family—but I think it’s a must-read for anyone who wants an intimate accounting of the Kennedy assassination. Everyone knows how this story ends, but the book reads like a novel of the very best kind.

1106483The Death Of A President by William Manchester     This is a true classic in the Kennedy genre. Published in 1967 and written at the request of the Kennedy family, the author was personally selected to write the definitive account of the assassination. Of course, hundreds of books have been written about the topic since then—and Manchester was obviously working under the Kennedy family’s agenda—but this is still a must-read for anyone interested in the life and death of JFK.

290802America’s Queen: The Life Of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Sarah Bradford    This is the most informative, non-tabloid-ish biography of Jacqueline Kennedy that I’ve read. And the title is inspired!



9547969Jackie As Editor: The Literary Life Of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Gregory Lawrence    I knew that JBKO had worked as an editor in New York for several years, but didn’t know how much she truly loved books, or any of the specifics about how or why she got that job, what her day to day life as a working woman was like, or why she left the publishing business. This book answered all of these questions and more, and provides information that gives the reader a more well-rounded view of her life after she left Washington. Bonus–it’s also a really interesting view of the publishing world in the 1970s!

1469237Kennedy Weddings: A Family Album by Jay Mulvaney     This is a great coffee-table-style book filled with wonderful photos and details about nearly every Kennedy wedding—and with such a large family, there have been dozens! Beginning with the wedding of Rose and Joe Kennedy and moving along through the weddings of their children and grandchildren, this book is a great treat for readers (like me!) who just can’t get enough of this famous family.


524665The Kennedy Women: The Sage Of An American Family by Lawrence Leamer     This book provides intimate details about the lives of the daughters and daughters-in-law of Joseph and Rose Kennedy. I was especially interested in the details about Patricia and Jean, the lesser-known sisters.


6030598The Last Lion: The Fall And Rise Of Ted Kennedy by Peter Canellos     Published shortly after Ted Kennedy’s death in 2009, this biography provides a well-balanced portrait of the successes and failings of the youngest Kennedy brother.



447974Sons Of Camelot: The Fate Of An American Dynasty by Lawrence Leamer    Another meticulously researched book, this book focuses on the third generation of Kennedys and how they’ve chosen to carry on the family name and mission.



How about you? Have you read any of these? Is there a particular historical family that intrigues you? Please share–and please visit the current November Nonfiction linkup (just click on the graphic at the top of this post) for more great nonfiction recommendations!

Author: bookmammal

I love books, reading, writing, cooking, eating, reading while eating, and sharing thoughts about all of the above–plus a bit more! I usually post about topics relating to books and literacy during the week, and then participate in a variety of non-bookish memes on the weekend. Please feel free to join in! Some random things about me– –I have multiple bookshelves in every room of my home except the bathroom. They’re all filled to bursting. They help to make my house my home. –I have two cats who I love dearly, but who I definitely do NOT dress in human clothing. Ever. –I’ve never had a cavity. –I make a mean spaghetti sauce. –I’m a newcomer to yoga and I love it. –My day is not complete without a little chocolate.

17 thoughts on “NONFICTION NOVEMBER: WEEK 2–Become The Expert / Books About The Kennedys

  1. Oh, this such a great idea!

  2. Nice list! I wonder when our society’s fascination with the Kennedys will end? I think I’ve finally had about enough of them now, but I certainly have read widely in Kennedy Lit in the past . . . . And then, of course, there are all the miniseries!

  3. Fascinating list. The one that grabbed me most was Sons of Camelot.

  4. HA – I chose the exact same topic for Be the Expert! But, it’s interesting that our lists (with the exception of America’s Queen) is almost completely different. I love Laurence Leamer and the Sons of Camelot sounds interesting – adding it to my TBR list.

  5. I have only read one book about Camelot but I can barely remember it, it’s been so long.

  6. That’s funny, I happened upon a great used copy of The Patriarch this weekend and snatched it up. I haven’t read any of these, but I’ve read several Kennedy books: Rose Kennedy, Killing Kennedy, and Mrs. Kennedy and Me–all of which I’d recommend.

    • I’ve also read Mrs Kennedy and Me–but unfortunately it didn’t make the cut for my list. There are SO MANY books on this topic! Hope you enjoy Patriarch when you get to it.

  7. Interesting topic. I’m not surprised that a lot of books have been written about the Kennedys. 🙂 I haven’t read any, although I’ve considered doing a Project: Presidential Biographies some year.

    When I was a kid, we had a toy replica of JFK’s PT-109 boat from (WW 2) that we played with when a part of our backyard occasionally flooded. I’d forgotten all about that until I read your post! Thanks. 🙂

  8. Reading your list has made me realize I haven’t read anything about the Kennedys, which is a it surprising. You have given me some good places to start.

  9. I’ve also had a couple of Kennedy phases during my reading (& doco viewing) life, but I don’t think I’ve read any of the ones on your list. The Kennedys: An American Drama by Collier & Horowitz was a favourite of mine at one time.

    The Kennedy Women sounds like the kind of book to fit my mood/interests right now. Thanks

  10. I haven’t read much about the Kennedys, but it definitely sounds like a fascinating topic and certainly important when it comes to learning more about US and recent US history. Thanks for sharing this list!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s