Christopher Andersen The Day John Died

ISBN 13: 9780380819584

The Day John Died

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9780380819584: The Day John Died

"It's hard for me to talk about a
legacy or a mystique. It's my family --
my mother, my sister, my father.
We're a family like any other."

Where were You the day John died? Like his father's assassination and the death of Princess Diana, the tragic death of JFK Jr. on July 16, 1999, is one of those defining moments -- an event that moved us so deeply, we will never forget where we were when we heard the news.

A full year after the plane crash that took the lives of John, his wife, Carolyn, and Carolyn's sister Lauren, millions remain in shock. With good reason. No other American had lived his entire life in the spotlight -- from his rambunctious toddlerhood in the Kennedy White House and heartbreaking salute to his father's coffin to his daredevil Sexiest Man Alive bachelor days and his final years as a devoted husband and respected magazine publisher poised on the brink of fatherhood and a brilliant political career.

Now, in the manner of his headline-making #1 New York Times bestseller The Day Diana Died and his two bestselling books about John's parents, Jack and Jackie and Jackie After Jack, Christopher Andersen draws on important sources -- many talking here for the first time -- to re-create in vivid and startling detail the events leading up to that fateful night off the coast of Martha's Vineyard. Among the revelations:

  • How false weather reports from the FAA led to the crash that killed John, Carolyn, and Lauren.
  • Never-before-known details about John's complex relationship with his mother, his intense bond with his sister, Caroline, and his dealings with his star-crossed Kennedy cousins.
  • The state of his stormy marriage to the glamorous and headstrong Carolyn Bessette and where it was headed.
  • The other harrowing moments when John nearly lost his life.
  • The truth about John's wild younger years, including his affairs with Madonna and Daryl Hannah.
  • How JFK Jr. came to view his father and his family's political legacy -- and his feelings about a political career of his own.
  • An inspiring, sympathetic, and compelling look at one of the most remarkable young men of our time, The Day John Died is more than just the definitive biography of JFK Jr. It is a bittersweet saga of triumph, love, loss, fate -- and promise unfulfilled. It is the story of America's son.

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    Review:

    It's interesting that Jackie Kennedy had premonitions of JFK Jr.'s plane-crash death, that he almost hit an American Airlines jet, and that, to prevent those last shrieking 15 seconds when G-forces distorted his face prior to impact, all he had to do was punch two buttons and the Piper Saratoga would've landed safely on autopilot.

    The Day John Died is a misleading title, because it's mostly about his life: his family dynamics, romances, dreams, and achievements. Christopher Andersen, a former Time and People editor, gives a surprisingly well rounded account of John's character--along with 73 eloquent photos and lots of the dishy details inquiring minds want to know. The book is both trashy and classy. Though some of the inside stuff is tough to know for sure (was Carolyn Bessette really a manic druggie who denied John sex for a year?), Andersen knows more than most, having spent years researching Jack and Jackie and Jackie After Jack. We feel Jackie's power over her unstudious, scatterbrained, yet rather smart son, and Andersen plausibly sketches her brilliant job of shielding him from the worst influences of the Kennedy clan, her withering effect on his acting career, her revulsion over his stint as Madonna's boy toy, and much more. Andersen's expertise about the family makes us less skeptical of, say, his account of Bessette's wily seduction technique (she used an expertly timed cold shoulder and a hunky model-actor from Baywatch to make John jealous), or their spat over Sharon Stone.

    There's gobs of drama besides the finale: John the child saved from death in a fiery Hawaiian luau pit (by the same father-figure Secret Service man who saved his mom from drowning), John repeatedly risking death by flying his ultralight into the ocean and power lines, John twice saving pals from drowning, once while diving for a pirate ship. Andersen omits no dirt (yes, JFK Jr. snorted coke from a JFK ashtray in college), yet he's fair (JFK Jr. had no real drug problem, while his dad was a chronic speed-needle freak). All in all, John comes off as a hell of a nice guy--almost the opposite of his Machiavellian father. He was about one-thousandth as promiscuous as he could've been, and all his exes remained his friends, even Daryl Hannah (the only girl he could've married for her money), who went down on one knee to propose, but was opposed by Jackie and Caroline.

    Mostly, it's a poignant book. When told that JFK had gone to heaven, JFK Jr. asked his nanny, "Did Daddy take his big plane with him?" The nanny said, "Yes." --Tim Appelo

    About the Author:

    Christopher Andersen is the critically acclaimed author of twenty-three books that have been translated into more than twenty languages worldwide.A former contributing editor of Time and senior editor of People, Andersen has also written hundreds of articles for a wide range of publications, including Life and the New York Times.

    "About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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