The Kennedy White House by Carl Sferrazza Anthony

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The Kennedy White House : Family Life & Pictures, 1961-1963 by Carl Sferrazza Anthony was a delight to read. It was a truly intimate look at the Kennedy’s short stay in the White House with just over 1,000 days. But those days were bright, full of hope and promise, artists, musicians, family, and youth and Kennedy’s ‘vigah.’

The books starts right away with Kennedy’s 1961 inauguration including pictures of the family during the events of the day including one of Eunice Shriver recording the inauguration parade on her Super 8 movie camera.

“The Kennedy White House is the first truly intimate look at Kennedy family life inside the White House. It is an unprecedented visit behind the scenes, revealing the world’s most famous family in the world’s most famous house.”

One part of the book I really enjoyed was getting to actually see the bedrooms in the private quarters where the Kennedys lived in those 3 years. The pictures show Caroline’s room complete with her oversized Raggedy Ann doll, and JFK’s bedroom filled with books. There are pictures of private birthday parties for the kids in the President’s Dining Room.

In addition of their time working and doing their presidential and first lady duties, this book also shows the Kennedys during the leisure time, including a picture of Jackie water skiing, and the famous clan sailing in Hyannis Port. There are also pictures of one of Jack’s birthday parties held with his closest family members and best friends.

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“The 337 full color and black and white photos, taken by the primary White House photographers, are unstaged and provide a far more naturally, spontaneous, and realistic portrait of the family ever before; most of them, including color photographs of each of the private rooms, have never been seen, and they present an unparalleled look at life as it was lived behind the White House doors.”

The book beautifully chronicles the happy, memorable times as well as the unbelievably sad ending to the mystical and infamous Camelot years, with photos of Jackie and the children leaving the White House after JFK’s assassination. It is a truly great book and I highly recommend it.

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