Jackie Under My Skin: Interpreting an icon

Wayne Koestenbaum

A dazzling, witty and highly original tribute to Jackie Onassis, one of the twentieth-century’s most alluring and enigmatic cultural icons.

’I can’t address Jacqueline Onassis any more. But icon Jackie remains, a baffling array of images still requiring interpretation.’

From her media canonisation at the time of JFK’s death to the rash of criticism provoked by her marriage to Onassis, Jackie has always managed to elude definition and has left us the legacy of a legend. In this affectionate and very intimate take on his subject, Wayne Koestenbaum interprets the cultural impact of the public figure with irony and humour. He considers her status as a gay icon, and compares it with those of other divas such as Maria Callas and Liz Taylor. In a pyrotechnic display, Koestenbaum derives axioms from Jackie’s wardrobe, teases home truths from her White House memoranda, and attaches symbolic significance to the chic and the tragic in Jackie’s life. Lifting the genre of biography to soaring new heights, Jackie Under My Skin is both a skilful deconstruction and a highly entertaining portrait of a most enduring myth.

Reviews of Jackie Under My Skin: Interpreting an icon

    • ‘This book contains everything you ever wanted to know about Jackie’Today
    • ‘Irresistibly loopy… the most brilliantly sustained spoof I have ever read’Gerald Kaufman, Times Weekend
    • ‘The tension of this book lies in his uncomfortable awareness that he isn’t so far from being a crazed fan himself’Independent on Sunday
    • ‘A quasi-religious meditation on the meaning of “Jackie”’Evening Standard
    • ‘If only historical biographers wrote like this, their heavy tomes would be so much more daring, more truthful and so much more fun.’Literary Review
    • ‘An encyclopaedia of weird Jackie facts… for anyone planning to revitalise their wardrobe in line with the Jackie look, the book provides a blueprint.’Vogue

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