»American Legacy: The Story of John and Caroline Kennedy«, C. David Heymann, 2007

You know you have to take a book with a (severe) pinch of salt when two pages in, an eavesdropping passenger onboard the same aircraft as Caroline and Ted Kennedy is used as a credible source. C. David Heymann’s previous publications, such as the salaciously titled »Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story«, have already come under fire for being little more than allegation-drenched, factually sparse works. 

While Caroline and John were only five and two years old respectively when their father was assassinated, the media’s fascination with these two siblings did not let up once they had left the White House. This book aims to provide the reader with a deeper insight into the personalities and lives of President Kennedy’s offspring. The first few chapters are dedicated to the childhood and adolescence of Caroline and John, from their idyllic early years in the White House with their parents and pony Macaroni, to the dark months following their father’s death, through to the obligatory awkward teenage phase.


The bulk of the dual biography, however, deals with their adult years. This is when the rumours really start to flow thick and fast – Carolyn’s alleged pregnancy at the time of the fatal airplane crash, JFK Junior’s supposed affairs as well as the allegation that he was under the influence of alcohol when his plane went down. Their relationship with their mother is portrayed as a loving, though at times difficult, one, and the siblings are depicted as polar opposites; Caroline private and guarded, John outgoing and thrill-seeking. The sensationalism of this book makes it an entertaining read that proves very easy to digest. Its after-effect however, is akin to the feeling one gets after reading Hello magazine – the gloss that lures you in leaves you with a slightly grubby sense of dissatisfaction once you manage to finally tear yourself away from its pages.