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John Simkin

Jackie Kennedy and RFK

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/0...ennedy-jfk-book

A row has erupted over a book by a bestselling biographer that alleges president John F Kennedy's widow, Jackie, began a four-year affair with her brother-in-law, Robert, within months of her husband's assassination.

The book, Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story by C David Heymann, alleges that the relationship grew so intense that when Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968 it was Jackie, not his, wife who told doctors to turn off the life support.

Heymann says the accounts are based on the recollections of a clutch of Kennedy confidants including Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Pierre Salinger and Arthur Schlesinger. But Salinger, Kennedy's press secretary, has dismissed the account as "bullxxxx" while Heymann's critics say he has been caught making egregious errors in previous books and even accused of fabricating material.

Heymann quotes Mary Harrington, a well known socialite of the time, as saying she saw Bobby Kennedy fondling his widowed sister in law at the Kennedy's Palm Beach estate at Christmas 1964.

"As they began to kiss, he placed one hand on her breast and the other inside of her bikini bottom," Harrington, who also had an affair with Bobby Kennedy, is quoted as saying. "I was shocked. It was clear that Bobby was sleeping with his sister-in-law."

But Kennedy experts are deriding the allegations.

"It's a new low, and you just wonder how far people are willing to go," Laurence Leamer, author of three books about the Kennedys, told the New York Daily News.

Heymann, who is frequently described as eccentric, has a mixed record.

His publisher was forced to pulp a first edition of a biography of Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton after a Beverly Hills doctor, who the writer accused of over prescribing drugs for Hutton, pointed out that he was 14 years old at the time of the alleged incident. The Manhattan district attorney investigated Heymann for fraud over allegations that the Hutton diaries on which much of the book was based were fake. None of which stopped the book from becoming a best seller.

Heymann also drew scepticism when he appeared on the front of newspapers and on television a decade ago claiming to have been drinking with JFK's son, John, shortly before he was killed in a place crash. Critics questioned whether John Kennedy would have been friendly with the author who wrote a scandalous biography of his father and the bar owner said Kennedy had not been there for two years.

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I have seen this affair discussed in at least one other Kennedy bio or CT book, but cannot recall where. Perhaps in "Nemesis" by Peter Evans, the book on Jackie, Onassis, and the RFK assassination, which is already in disrepute. If it's in a Gore Vidal work, it's in one of his autobiographical volumes - but something tells me that such an assertion by Vidal would have drawn fire from the press soon after it apeared in print.

Edited by David Andrews

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John,

This was an issue that he raised in an earlier book called "A Woman Named Jackie" P. 465. However in his book he commented that he did not believe the rumor. Sarah Bradford in "America's Queen" did comment that there was a very close spiritual and emotional tie between the two, especially after the assassination. However there is no suggestion in her book about such a relationship. I recall reading that Bobby did stay often with Jackie, but it was not because of an affair but because the impact of the death of John Kennedy was something they had in common.

As I recall, there were serious criticisms of his earlier book and I suspect his research is no better in this one.

James.

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From the journalist Chris Lightbown:

Heymann has fished in this sort of pond before, but even deeper. On page 419 of his book RFK, Heymann says that Gore Vidal once told him that Rudolf Nureyev once told him (discerning readers may feel the trail going a little cold by now) that Bobby Kennedy flirted with Nureyev and that the pair of them had a three-some with a young American soldier.

Heymann also quoted a prima ballerina with the New York City Ballet of that time, Janet Villella, as saying that she had once seen Bobby and Nureyev “kissing passionately” in a telephone booth.

As you did when you were a public figure in the virulently anti-gay mid 60s………

Read with extreme caution would be my advice on anything Heymann writes.

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From the journalist Chris Lightbown:

Heymann has fished in this sort of pond before, but even deeper. On page 419 of his book RFK, Heymann says that Gore Vidal once told him that Rudolf Nureyev once told him (discerning readers may feel the trail going a little cold by now) that Bobby Kennedy flirted with Nureyev and that the pair of them had a three-some with a young American soldier.

Heymann also quoted a prima ballerina with the New York City Ballet of that time, Janet Villella, as saying that she had once seen Bobby and Nureyev “kissing passionately” in a telephone booth.

As you did when you were a public figure in the virulently anti-gay mid 60s………

Read with extreme caution would be my advice on anything Heymann writes.

Then where did all the kids come from?

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I read, in some book during the last year, that RFK and Jackie had an affair after JFK's death and that they had even gone to a Carribean island together.

I think that it was Antigua.

I don't know (or really care) whether it is true.

Nor do I know whether RFK was a faithful husband to Ethyl or, instead, a cad like his brother and like his father.

Except for "The Other Side of Camelot", I try not to read hit pieces, because they don't help me with my ultimate objective of discovering who perpetrated the assassination of JFK.

I could speculate as to which book I read the above story/rumor, but I have read so many JFK assassination books that I wouldn't want to wrongly attribute it to an author who had nothing to do with the story.

JFK strikes me as the accidental President (in that Joe, Jr. was supposed to run for the office and that the role kind of descended to him after Joe's death).

RFK strikes me as, by far, the most intense of the brothers and, according to one book I read, the one who had the moxey to stand up to Joe, Sr.

EMK seems a born introvert who had the unenviable position of following in the footsteps of extrovert brothers and a father who had very high expectations.

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I read, in some book during the last year, that RFK and Jackie had an affair after JFK's death and that they had even gone to a Carribean island together.

I think that it was Antigua.

I don't know (or really care) whether it is true.

Nor do I know whether RFK was a faithful husband to Ethyl or, instead, a cad like his brother and like his father.

Except for "The Other Side of Camelot", I try not to read hit pieces, because they don't help me with my ultimate objective of discovering who perpetrated the assassination of JFK.

I could speculate as to which book I read the above story/rumor, but I have read so many JFK assassination books that I wouldn't want to wrongly attribute it to an author who had nothing to do with the story.

JFK strikes me as the accidental President (in that Joe, Jr. was supposed to run for the office and that the role kind of descended to him after Joe's death).

RFK strikes me as, by far, the most intense of the brothers and, according to one book I read, the one who had the moxey to stand up to Joe, Sr.

EMK seems a born introvert who had the unenviable position of following in the footsteps of extrovert brothers and a father who had very high expectations.

I suppose the worst one ecould say they are human beings. In this case traumatised by the loss of a loved one. People do tend to seek solace in empathy.

It strikes me as an attack on the Kenndys to appeal to the prudish.

In any case : "...hit pieces, because they don't help .. with .. (the) ultimate objective of discovering who perpetrated the assassination of JFK."

(Interestingly, at the time, Teddy was in instances referred to as showing the most promise of them all.)

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I suppose the worst one ecould say they are human beings. In this case traumatised by the loss of a loved one. People do tend to seek solace in empathy.

It strikes me as an attack on the Kenndys to appeal to the prudish.

Scientific research has been carried out concerning the way people deal with stress. It has been reported that men often deal with stress by searching for excitement. This often involves extreme risk-taking behaviour. Apparently, married men are more likely to begin affairs during periods of stress. Maybe this explains RFK's behaviour.

This story is in fact important to the research into the assassination of JFK. The reason is that it has been provided by C. David Heymann. This is the same man who brought us details of Cord Meyer's deathbed statement on the assassination. According to Heymann, Meyer said the same people who killed JFK also killed his wife, Mary Pinchot Meyer. If Heymann can be shown to have lied about RFK and Jackie, then we will have to reconsider the evidence he has provided on the JFK assassination.

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Heymann, speaking of haitches, may end up on the shelf of Charles Higham, whose various books got much right and were the first to sound the alarums, but rang them too long, adding spurious resonances not strictly welcome in the art of bellringing.

Some stories are just not absolute or definable, regardless the inventions and perjuries that seem to contextualize circumstances. Still, like Weberman, Higham has his unimpeachable parts. Heymann?

Edited by David Andrews

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