Letters to Jackie
Condolences from a Grieving Nation
By Ellen Fitzpatrick
(Ecco, Paperback, 9780061969829, 384pp.)
Publication Date: September 2011
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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As seen on NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, CNN, MSNBC, and in the Boston Globe, New York Times, and USA Today
It is perhaps the most memorable event of the twentieth century: the assassination of president John F. Kennedy
Within seven weeks of president Kennedys assassination in November 1963, Jacqueline Kennedy received more than 800,000 condolence letters. Two years later, the volume of correspondence would exceed 1.5 million letters. For the next forty-six years, the letters would remain essentially untouched.
Now, in her selection of 250 of these astonishing letters, historian Ellen Fitzpatrick reveals a remarkable human record of that devastating moment, of Americans across generations, regions, races, political leanings, and religions, in mourning and crisis. Reflecting on their sense of loss, their fears, and their hopes, the authors of these letters wrote an elegy for the fallen president that captured the soul of the nation.
Ellen Fitzpatrick, a professor and scholar specializing in modern American political and intellectual history, is the author and editor of six books. The Carpenter Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire, where she has been recognized for Excellence in Public Service, Fitzpatrick lives in Newton, Massachusetts.
“This is a terrific, original, and important work, the perfect match between subject and author. With an historian’s grasp of time and place and a novelist’s feel for drama and detail, Fitzpatrick provides a stunningly fresh look at the impact of JFK’s assassination on the American people.”
-Doris Kearns Goodwin
“Ellen Fitzpatrick’s wonderful book — which is both a perceptive history of the public response to John Kennedy’s death and a selection of the millions of letters that followed the assassination — is a remarkable window into the character of the nation in the 1960s.”