JACKIE, JANET & LEE
The Secret Lives of Janet Auchincloss and Her Daughters, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Lee Radziwill
By J. Randy Taraborrelli
Illustrated. 528 pp. St. Martin’s Press. $29.99.
The writer Nancy Mitford, one of six daughters, once said that sisters “stand between one and life’s cruel circumstances.” To which the younger Jessica Mitford replied that sisters were life’s cruel circumstances. By the end of “Jackie, Janet & Lee,” with its riveting exposition of the relationship between the two Bouvier sisters — who became Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Princess Lee Radziwill — one tends to take Jessica’s side.
Nancy herself was often the Lee figure of the Mitford household: a bright and stylish woman who would have been the star of almost any family on earth. She was constantly confronted by the figure of her sister Diana, a political extremist who possessed an otherworldly power of commanding idolatry. All her life, Nancy was jealous of Diana, partly for her beauty but more for the indomitable and rare self-control that enabled Diana to remain sphinx-like, serene and supremely herself no matter what befell...Source: www.nytimes.com