New bio of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis pieces together First Lady’s lost legacy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jackie. One name was all you needed. A paragon of femininity, fashion, American wifeliness and motherhood, she was also fiercely independent, the first modern First Lady.

Traumatized and exposed after her husband’s murder, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy nonetheless built a new life for herself in an America similarly haunted by upheaval. She traveled relentlessly and dated widely before her marriage to a shipping magnate scandalized the world in 1968. There were so many stories, so many pictures: Jackie living abroad, Jackie climbing ruins, Jackie cruising the oceans, Jackie wandering Europe braless and with bare feet. But, in the decades since, that Jackie has been almost entirely erased.

Treated like a national soap opera and transmitted through newspapers, magazines, images, and TV during the 1960s and 1970s, Jackie’s story became wired into America’s emotional grid. In “Finding Jackie,” author Oline Eaton pieces the story back together, rediscovering Jackie as an adventurer, a wanderer, a woman and an idea in whom many Americans and people around the globe deeply, fiercely wanted to believe.

Touching down everywhere from Athens, Paris, Cairo, and 1040 Fifth Avenue, “Finding Jackie” returns Jackie’s story to its original context as a serialized drama unfurling alongside the Civil Rights movement, women’s liberation, and the Vietnam War. In “Finding Jackie,” Oline Eaton reveals the kaleidoscopic Jackie we need now: the most celebrated, exposed, beloved, reviled, written about, and followed “star of life.”

“Finding Jackie: A Life Reinvented”
Oline Eaton | Jan. 31, 2023 | Diversion Books | Biography
Hardcover | 978-1635767933 | $28.99
Ebook | $28.99
Audiobook | $22.64

About the Author

A scholar of biographical writing and a writer of creative nonfiction, in her work, Oline Eaton examines the intersections of celebrity, feelings, feminism, language, and trauma. She holds degrees from Mississippi State University, the University of Chicago, and King’s College London, and teaches first year writing as a non-tenure track lecturer at Howard University. She lives in Washington, DC with her cats, Claude and Marcel. Find out more about her at

Follow Oline Eaton on social media:
Facebook: @finding.jackie.onassis | Twitter: @oline_eaton | Instagram: @oline.eaton

In an interview, Oline Eaton can discuss:

The stark juxtaposition between Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ poise and elegance in the public eye, and her private struggles with insecurities, trauma and gossip as she yearned for independence and adventure — “Finding Jackie” establishes the impact those stories and the public’s interest had on how Jackie lived her life, while also deepening our understanding of how and why she became so wired into the nation’s emotional grid. In doing so, it also provides further evidence of how her story, in particular, contributed to the expansion of celebrity beyond Hollywood film stars, such that celebrity ultimately came to encompass, in the words of one movie magazine, “the stars of life.”

Taking Jackie’s life into context beyond the typical domestic drama — which is the approach of many biographies of women — and putting it into historical context. Jackie’s is a story that largely unfolded around major social progress in the 1960s and 70s (the Civil Rights movement, the movements for gay rights and women’s liberation), cultural change (a rise in divorce rates, changing attitudes towards privacy and public figures), historical events (the Vietnam War, Watergate), and technological advancements (the American space program, the intrusions of telephoto lenses, the acceleration of the news cycle). In fact, her story often intersected with these developments.

How she became interested in the enigmatic life of Jackie O — Being a bit of a pre-teen news junkie, Oline had been following the Clinton administration closely and was well aware of the hatred directed at Hillary. Upon her death, Jackie was the first American first lady that Oline saw who was beloved by the American people. And yet, there were major gaps in the story being told at the time.

What she learned from sifting through old letters and having conversations with the people who knew Jackie best, including her friends, family, and acquaintances, including feminist icon Gloria Steinem.

Visiting iconic places where Jackie spent important moments of her life, including her childhood home in Newport, Rhode Island, and Aristotle Onassis’s private yacht, Christina.

New insights into Jackie’s marriages to JFK and to Aristotle Onassis.

Colorful tidbits and stories that peppered Jackie’s life – the time hundreds of fans chased her through a potato field at a funeral in Poland; selling her old couture clothing to make quick cash (á la Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads, but high-end); her office’s strategic leaks to the press in an effort manage her coverage, etc.

How Jackie’s legacy has been celebrated for style rather than substance, and why her story is relevant in today’s world.

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