Bobby and Jackie; a modern American Greek tragedy

Wed Sep 9, 2009 12:01pm EDT
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By Nick Olivari

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Kennedy family saga was already the Greek tragedy of modern American history, but a book alleging a love affair between Robert F. Kennedy and his brother's wife adds new pathos to the tale.

"Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story" by C. David Heymann, 64, describes the romance between RFK and former first lady Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy.

Heymann said it began in the months following the 1963 assassination in Dallas of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, known as Jack, and concluded around the time RFK announced his own run for the presidency in early 1968.

Robert Kennedy was the love of Jackie's life, Heymann said.

"Bobby and Jack were quite different," he added in an interview. "Jackie and Bobby had a much closer intellectual liaison than Jackie and John."

Heymann's research for the book dates back to 1983. His interviews focused on people close to the couple, including Pierre Salinger, president Kennedy's press secretary. His search for documented evidence includes Secret Service and FBI reports made available under the Freedom of Information Act.

The book is empathetic and recognizes that the American power elite often play by different rules, particularly in the decades before and after the World War Two when the press was not as focused on the private life of the public politician.

"There was tenderness there," said Heymann. "They were bought together by the shared grief of losing the person they were closest to."   Continued...

<p>Robert F. Kennedy sits at his desk at the Justice Department in this 1968 file photograph. REUTERS/Handout</p>