GRACE AND POWER : THE DARK SIDE OF THE WHITE HOUSE PART 3 OF 5
Part 3of 5. Absent First Lady
The author points out that for much of the year Jackie was not in residence at the White House. In the late spring she would go to Hyannis Port and Hammersmith Farm for the summer and not return until October. In December she usually went to Palm Beach until February or March. When she was at the White House she spent long weekends at Glen Ora in the Virginia horse country riding to the hounds with her patrician friends. Jack would be with her on the weekends when he desired. However he decidedly was not interested in riding to the hounds and probably could not if he wanted to because of his back. The book discloses that Jack suffered greatly because of his back and needed constant medical attention for it. The author discusses the feelgood shots of Dr. Max Jacobson that were administered to the President and also the First Lady. These treatments, a mixture of vitamins and amphetamines, were even administered when Jack and Jackie went to Europe to see de Gaulle and Khrushchev. Needless to say these meetings were political failures and did not stop the withdrawal of France from NATO and its going alone on nuclear policy and of course they may have emboldened Khrushchev to cause the Cuban missile crisis.
While Jackie was interested in certain aspects of the White House life like the historical restoration of the interior about which she made a televised documentary and the more spectacular balls and dinners of the season, as said, she was not interested in the day to day duties of the First Lady which she delegated. Almost all the public daily duties were delegated to her staff or to stand in First Ladies. The picture comes through of a self-absorbed woman interested in her own life and patrician pursuits and not much interested in the duties of a First Lady, (Pressing the flesh was a chore she abhorred.). The press protected her from this abandonment of duty to focus on her elegance and beauty. Also it concealed she was not greatly interested in the political life of her husband. NEXT PART4 OF 5 OTHER WOMEN