Jackie O the Editor

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was once the world’s most recognisable woman, but in 1975 after the death of her second husband she became an editor at Viking Press before moving on to Doubleday.

Two competing biographies about her editing years will be appearing in bookshops soon. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books represents “a departure from the company’s longstanding rule of not publishing anything about Onassis, its former employee”. Reading Jackie’s publication date was brought forward so it could appear before Jackie as Editor: The Literary Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis which was penned by Greg Lawrence who worked with Onassis on his 1986 memoir Dancing On My Grave.

And what do the books tell us about the most private part of the former First Lady’s life? The Daily Beast features an excerpt from William Kuhn’s Reading Jackie that looks at how Onassis was the only woman who could have coaxed Michael Jackson to write his autobiography, Moonwalk. The Huffington Postgives Kuhn the thumbs up, saying “until a biographer comes along with the patience, the skill and the connections to get the still-untold story of Jacqueline Onassis' life, Kuhn has it right — by her work shall we know her.”

But the Huffington Post article points to a bitter rivalry between the two biographers. Kuhn disses his fellow biographer faintly saying “When I interviewed Jackie’s colleagues from Doubleday, they said the impression Greg Lawrence made on them while she was working with him was unequivocally that he was a difficult man.” Lawrence, whose book is due out in January in the US, went for the more bitchy retort: “Jackie wouldn’t have hired this other writer to take out her laundry.”