Welcome 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:
Patriarch: 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.
The 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.
The 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.
America’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!
Jackie 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!
Kennedy 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.
The 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.
The 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.
Sons 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!