Grace and Power

The Private World of the Kennedy White House

At the dawn of the 1960s, a forty-three-year-old president and his thirty-one-year-old first lady – the youngest couple ever to occupy the White House – captivated the world with their easy elegance and their cool conviction that anything was possible. Jack and Jackie Kennedy gathered around them an intensely loyal and brilliant coterie of intellectuals, journalists, diplomats, jet-setters, and artists. Their three remarkable years at center stage transformed the politics and style of America.

With unparalleled access and insight, Sally Bedell Smith shows what it was really like to be inside the Kennedy White House. Drawing on interviews with scores of Kennedy intimates, including former lovers who have never spoken publicly before, and on private letters and personal papers, Smith sheds new light on the intricate relationships behind the high purpose and political drama of the twentieth century’s most storied presidency.

In his public life, JFK blazed a New Frontier at home, stared down the Soviet Union, and cultivated an image as a devoted husband and family man. As first lady, Jackie mesmerized foreign leaders and the American people with her style and sophistication, creating a White House renowned for its beauty and culture. Smith brilliantly re-creates the glamorous pageant of the Kennedy years, as well as the daily texture of the Kennedys’ marriage, friendships, political associations, and, in Jack’s case, multiple love affairs.

Smith’s striking revelations include new information about what drew Jack to his numerous mistresses – and what effects the relationships ultimately had on the women; about the rivalries and resentments among Kennedy’s advisers; and about the poignant days before and after Kennedy’s assassination.

Sally Bedell Smith has fashioned a vivid and nuanced portrait not only of two extraordinary individuals but of a new age that sprang to life around them. Shimmering with intelligence and rich detail, Grace and Power is history at its finest.

Sally Bedell Smith is the author of bestselling biographies of William S.Paley, Pamela Churchill Harriman, and Diana, Princess of Wales. A contributing editor at Vanity Fair since 1996, she previously worked at Time and The New York Times, where she was a cultural news reporter. She lives in Washington,D.C., with her husband,Stephen. They have three grown children.

For more information on the author, please visit

Also available from Random House Audio and in a Random House Large Print Edition

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Jacket design: Allison Saltzman

Jacket photograph: John F.Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy at Hyannis Port, 1959, © 2000 Mark Shaw// Random House, New York, N.Y.

Printed in U.S.A. 5/04
© 2004 Random House, Inc.