Symptoms of Withdrawal by Christopher Kennedy Lawford


Symptoms of Withdrawal was written by JFK’s nephew, Christopher Kennedy Lawford. Chris’s mom was Pat Kennedy Lawford, JFK’s sister. His father was actor and Rat Pack member Peter Lawford.

This book is a brutally honest look at what it was like to be a part of the Kennedy family. The pressure, the media, the family relationships, the family compound, traveling around the world, and the fame, Hollywood, Camelot, sex, drugs, and alcohol. Chris covers all those topics and more and without a filter.


As privileged and rich as the Kennedy clan was and is, it was a family marred with tragedy, divorce, assassinations, overdoses, and untimely deaths. Chris shares his life story and his perspective of what it was really like. He fell into drugs and alcohol at a young age as a comping mechanism with his parents divorce and the sadness that blanketed the family with the assassinations of beloved uncles John and Bobby. He talks about the heartbreak his mom went through after losing her brothers. His mom also hit the bottle as a way to escape.

Chris became addicted to drugs and alcohol and spent a lot of the Kennedy money. He chronicles his ups and downs and how much he missed out on in life because he was high. He also watched the downward spiral of his cousin David Kennedy, son of Robert Kennedy, that ended in a death at the young age of 28 from a drug overdose.


I am so interested and intrigued by this family and this book really let readers in and answered so many of my questions. I heard so many stories in this book that have not been in the media. I thought this book was so fascinating. If you’re interested in the Kennedy clan I would recommend this book to you.


The Kennedy White House by Carl Sferrazza Anthony


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.


“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.

Kennedy Weddings by Jay Mulvaney


This book combines two of my favorite topics, the Kennedys and weddings! It was a very intimate family album of 3 generations of Kennedy weddings spanning from 1914 until 1998.  I would consider myself an avid Kennedy family and I haven’t even seen some of these pictures.

I’ve read a lot of books about the Kennedys and I’ve only seen two with the family tree laid out. There is one in here that is great. This book was published in 1999 and as of that time there were 9 Kennedys from the second generation, the children of Joe and Rose Kennedy, then 28 grandchildren, and 48 great grandchildren! That’s a whole lot of Kennedys, and that’s not even counting the husband and wives.

The Kennedy dynasty all started when Rose Fitzgerald, daughter of Boston Mayor  Honey Fitz, married wealthy banker Joe Kennedy back in 1914.


“The family they created would contribute immeasurably to the welfare of the country, and at time even inspire the whole world, in the decades to come.”

It is amazing to get a glimpse inside each of the weddings, from the bride’s dresses, the table settings, the bridesmaid’s dresses, the invitations, and the gifts.

The first Kennedy to get married in the second generation was Kathleen, lovingly referred to as Kick. She married Billy Harrington from England in a civil ceremony in 1944. Their love story was tragic with resistance from her parents due to religious differences, her husband was killed by a sniper a mere 4 months after they were married, and she died 4 years later in a plane crash.


Seven of the nine Kennedy children’s (sister Rosemary was mentally retarded, and eldest brother Joe was killed in a suicide mission during the war) weddings were covered in this book, with the most details and coverage on JFK and Jackie’s wedding. Ted was the only one to divorce and remarry and both his weddings were included.









1973 marked the year of the first Kennedy wedding of the third generation. Kathleen Hartington Kennedy (named after her aunt Kick) was Bobby and Ethel’s eldest daughter of their eleven children, and like her aunt married first of her generation. Ted stepped in to escort the bride down the aisle, taking the place of his late brother Bobby, father of the bride. It was the first of many weddings that Ted had to step in for both Bobby and John’s children, 13 between them.

The weddings varied in size with some more private and intimate and others were large and publicized like that of Maria Shriver and Arnold Scwarzenegger and former first daughter Caronline Kennedy and Edwin Schlossberg. Many weddings were on the lawn of family matriarch Rose Kennedy in Hyannis Port.


One of the last weddings featured is that of JFK Jr and Carolyn Bessette who were a very private couple and opted for a small wedding of just group of close family and friends, on the small Cumberland Island. Their marriage ended in tragedy with the plane crash piloted by JFK Jr on a foggy night off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard just three short years after they were married.


Although the Kennedy name is linked to the past and often times to the so called Kennedy Curse, it is nice to catch a glimpse of this historic family in happy times celebrating love and life, just like the rest of us. The Kennedys have captivated me over the years and continue to. This book is so fantastic and I loved every page of it!

Capturing Camelot by Kitty Kelley


Capturing Camelot is a photographic book by Kitty Kelly featuring Stanley Tretick’s iconic images of the Kennedys. Kitty was a friend of Stanley’s and inherited a trunk of Kennedy memorabilia upon his death. It had personal notes from the president and first lady. This book presents an interesting perspective from the photographer’s point of view and showcases his relationship with different members of the Kennedy family.

Stanley’s most famous photograph during his time with the Kennedys was with John Jr playing under JFK’s desk in the oval office.


The book follows the Kennedy family starting from JFK’s 1960 presidential campaign up until RFK’s assassination in 1968.

“Don’t let it be forgot that once there was a spot for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot.”

The Kennedy era was truly a historic time in our nation and the family captivated a nation. It represented a time of hope in our country and continues to intrigue and inspire decades later, as 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of John F Kennedy’s death.

I continue to be intrigued with the rich history of this family and throughly enjoyed this pictorial view of the Kennedys along with personal memories and notes.

Happy Times by Lee Radziwill


I am a very curious person and love reading biographies and hearing about people’s lives. The Kennedy family is so famous and there were so many people in their world. I have often wondered how the people in their lives who were close to them viewed their world, and how they lived along side them.

In this book, Happy Times by Lee Radziwill, Jackie’s only sister (not including her half siblings) shares personal photos and memories and it’s really cool to see and hear firsthand accounts of Jackie, the kids, and Jack. She shares pictures of her many houses, her vacations, and her feelings about having Jackie as her sister. I only wish this book was a little longer, but it’s fantastic. Lee is gorgeous in her own right not just compared to the great Jackie.

I love the intro where Lee writes, ” Over a number of years, friends have urged me to write an autobiography. I had the opportunity, but after some thought I decided it would involved me in too many other lives. I wanted to do something much lighter, which would touch only on the good times. I also felt that so much had already been said about my family and the people I was close to, that it would be more enjoyable to only remember the best times with them.  Happy times were a better choice for me. I am always aware that I’ve had a special and privileged life, yet it has been balanced by tragedy as it has been for so many others. I believe that without memories there is no life, and that our memories should be of happy times. That’s my choice. ”






After Camelot by J. Randy Taraborrelli

I have long been a fan of the Kennedy family. I’ve seen my share of documentaries and interviews but “After Camelot: A Personal History of the Kennedy Family 1968 to Present,” was one of the first books I’ve read about the Kennedys.

bookimageEveryone is familiar with JFK and his story but this book delves into the lives of his very famous family in the aftermath in the years after both JFK and Bobby’s assainations.

I have always wondered about the relationships between the family members and how they all dealt with such huge losses and tragedies within the family. Many members of the Kennedy family were very religious and held onto their faith and each other during tough times.

This book chronicles over 50 years with the Kennedy family which included marriages, divorces, children, grandchildren, untimely deaths, rehab stints, politics, and the unattainably high standards that the second generation of Kennedys set for the future generations.

I have also been curious about the Kennedy family today and what they are up to.This book was published in 2012 so the information is all very recent and up to date about the family members today.

Even though this book is 526 pages long once I came to the end, I found myself wanting more still. I was really fascinated with all the stories and new tidbits of information I learned through reading this book. It is very well written. I liked how there were subtitles among the chapters and that the book was split up into parts that were focused on different family members.

This is a must read for all Kennedy fans and anyone who is curious about this very famous family.

Next week I’ll switch from one historically famous family (the Kennedys) to another more modernly famous family, the Kardashians, with Kris Jenner’s “Kris Jenner and All Things Kardashian.”

Kennedy Home Movies

I have an immense obsession with the Kennedy Family. I have followed their family for years through books and documentaries. They just intrigue me and I am so interested in them and their privileged lives. They had so much potential and promise but had so many tragedies along the way.

I can’t imagine all the heartache that Rose Kennedy, the matriarch of the Kennedy family, had to endure over the years. She outlived 5 of her 9 children and lived to be 104 years old.

I have my opinions about the way Joe Kennedy Sr raised his children though. He pushed them so hard and only wanted winners and not losers, which instilled competitiveness among them. I also don’t agree with the infidelity he engaged in. But he did raise very respectable, upstanding citizens, accomplished adults. So for now we will leave it at that.

I have seen my share of Kennedy documentaries but I really enjoyed TLC’s Kennedy’s Home Movies (I watched it on Netflix). With so much coverage already done on the Kennedys it’s hard to do something that is different and that has never been done before. But because this has home video footage, it’s much more personal and intimate.

I like that they talked about 3rd generations of Kennedys as well as focused on other members of the family other than JFK. Don’t get me wrong I love JFK but I’ve heard his story more often than I have heard his other siblings and family members. So that was interesting insight that I haven’t previously heard as much.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy‘s presidential inauguration, TLC is breaking out some rare footage and never-before-seen Kennedy family home movies — and ET has a sneak peek.

The two-hour special “Kennedys’ Home Movies,” narrated by Stockard Channing, follows three generations of the Kennedy family through private moments and historical events.

It begins with the rise of Joe Kennedy and his political plans for his namesake, Joe Jr., who was tragically killed in action in World War II. Joe Sr. then successfully set his sights on making JFK president of the United States.

The special also covers JFK’s romance with Jacqueline Bouvier, who became his wife and his widow when he was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963.

The next Kennedy to run for the office of president was Robert Kennedy, who sadly was fatally shot by Sirhan Sirhan at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. And, then, of course, there was Edward “Teddy” Kennedy‘s failed run for the presidency and the Chappaquiddick scandal that could have ended his political career.

To find out what it really was like to be a Kennedy and to go inside the family’s compound in Hyannis Port.

Article from ET Online

Are there any other Kennedy fans out there who have seen this documentary? Any thoughts?