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Jackie Kennedy tapes reveal a new side to the icon

The Jackie Kennedy tapes have been released 47 years after they were originally recorded.

Jackie Kennedy died 17 years ago of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, but her voice is being broadcast around the world as never-before-heard tapes made shortly after her husband’s death have finally been released.

Jackie Kennedy

Recorded just four months after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Jackie talks about everything from her own marriage to her take on various world leaders, revealing a woman who was very much the product of her class and time — and one very different than the independent woman she would become by the time of her death.

First and foremost, her love and respect for her husband shines through above all. Her opinions were shaped only by his opinions, because, she said, her husband always knew best — and, she adds, during the Cuban Missile Crisis she told him she would rather die with him than live without him.

“If anything happens, we’re all going to stay right here with you,” she remembers telling the President.

“Even if there’s not room in the bomb shelter in the White House. I just want to be with you, and I want to die with you, and the children do, too – than live without you.”

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Jackie’s love for her husband caused her to instantly dislike anyone perceived to have been disrespectful to him in any way — including Dr. Martin Luther King and other world leaders.

In all, the Jackie Kennedy tapes reveal a woman who totally devoted her life to her husband — but in the years between his death and her own, Jackie embraced her independence and changed many of her opinions on the same world leaders and on feminism, becoming a highly successful editor in her own right.

You can read transcripts of all eight and a half hours of the tapes in the new book Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy.

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