In The Private Passion of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Vicky Moon illuminates just how vital a role horses played throughout Jackie's often tumultuous life. Jackie's mother propped her up on a horse when she was just a year old, and throughout her childhood Jackie turned to her pony Buddy to distract her from the stress of her parents' precarious marriage. As a woman struggling under the intense pressures of her role as First Lady, riding a horse through the countryside was a much-needed tonic. And later in her life, as a mourning widow and then a reluctant celebrity, riding offered Jackie peace and privacy. Whether cantering up and down the emerald hills of Ireland, galloping through the woods in New Jersey, racing cross-country, or taking long, quiet rides with her children down the dirt trails of Virginia's hunt country, Jackie's lifelong passion for horses was a mainstay during difficult years, a refuge from a life in the limelight, and a constant source of joy.
Now, in addition to the elegant, stunning images from every stage of her life -- photographs taken while out riding to the hounds, at the steeplechase with Jack, with Caroline on her pony -- Jackie's story unfolds through Moon's fresh and engaging narrative, sprinkled with anecdotes and memories from those who knew Jackie not only as one of the most admired women in the world, but simply as a graceful and talented horsewoman.
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Vicky Moon is the author of The Official Middleburg Life Cookbook; The Middleburg Mystique: A Peek Inside the Gates of Middleburg, Virginia; Best Dressed Southern Salads; and A Sunday Horse: Inside the Grand Prix Show Jumping Tour. She has also written for the Washington Post, People, Town and Country, and House and Garden. She lives in Middleburg, Virginia, with her husband, sportswriter Leonard Shapiro, and her son.From Publishers Weekly:
It could be argued that every aspect of Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s life has been examined ad nauseum, but Moon appears to have struck upon an overlooked treasure in this tribute to the former First Lady’s lifelong love of horses. Moon, the author and founder, editor and publisher of The Middleburg Life (a newspaper for Virginia horse country), tells the story of Jackie’s passion for horses from age five through the end of her life. Jackie began riding very young and by the age of five participated in the East Hampton Horse Show. The photos of Jackie with her mother and father, Janet and Jack Bouvier, and on her beloved Chestnut mare, Danseuse, hint at the beauty and poise that would become her trademarks. Like her mother, Jackie grew into an accomplished equestrian. And Moon argues that riding brought the First Lady the solace and solitude that she craved; she would return to her horses again and again at moments of joy and sorrow. While her husband listened to Marilyn Monroe sing her breathy rendition of Happy Birthday at Madison Square Garden in New York, Jackie was at a horse show. After his assassination, horseback riding became "a significant part of her recuperative routine." Divided into short sections, the writing here is easy to read and conversational rather than historical, and the abundant photos speak volumes: Jackie riding with her children, Caroline and John; ponies on the White House Lawn with John F. Kennedy and the Secret Service; Jackie carefree in formal horse attire. Moon has constructed a must-have for horse lovers but also a touching tribute to Onassis; one of the few that the very private woman might have enjoyed herself.
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