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America's Reluctant Prince

The Life of John F. Kennedy Jr.
Written by: Steven M. Gillon
Narrated by: Tim Andrés Pabon
Length: 18 hrs and 24 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times Best Seller

A major new biography of John F. Kennedy Jr. from a leading historian who was also a close friend, America’s Reluctant Prince is a deeply researched, personal, surprising, and revealing portrait of the Kennedy heir the world lost too soon.

Through the lens of their decades-long friendship and including exclusive interviews and details from previously classified documents, noted historian and New York Times best-selling author Steven M. Gillon examines John F. Kennedy Jr.’s life and legacy from before his birth to the day he died. Gillon covers the highs, the lows, and the surprising incidents, viewpoints, and relationships that John never discussed publicly, revealing the full story behind JFK Jr.’s complicated and rich life. In the end, Gillon proves that John’s life was far more than another tragedy - rather, it’s the true key to understanding both the Kennedy legacy and how America’s First Family continues to shape the world we live in today.

©2019 Steven M. Gillon (P)2019 Penguin Audio

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Well done

Thoughtful, non-exploitive book that speaks to the person that was JFK Jr. Narration was as if the author was telling the story himself. The last paragraph of the story was oddly dissatisfying, as if the author needed to remind us, and himself, that his friend was just a man and not an icon, his life falling short of all the hopes that the public held for him. Then his last sentence brings you back to the personal loss, and you understand that it is the friend’s voice trying to retain his historian’s perspective and momentarily overstating the truth...that the shortened life of America’s son will always seem unfinished, it’s promise incomplete. And he is missed.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Nor'easter
  • 2019-07-12

Another “close friend” account

Save your credits or money. I realized by the end of part 1 (out of two) that this book is just rehashed history and to make it even worse, much of it has little to do with JFK Jr.

The author starts by telling us how close he and John were. After hearing this audio book, I the author may have been a friend but they weren’t as close as claimed. There is so much hamburger helper in this book. A lot of known history about the Kennedy family is used to fluff up a book that is supposed to be about JFK Jr.

Hours of this book are devoted simply to the times John grew up in and the Kennedy clan. I really did not have any interest in how many miscarriages Jacqueline Kennedy had, which hospitals she was raced to, what John’s birth weight was, that John’s father was not faithful to Jackie, the naval blockade of Cuba, Robert Kennedy’s assassination, Jackie marrying Onassis, etc. This should have been titled “where’s the beef?” I’ll be returning this audiobook.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Gail Meyer
  • 2019-07-16

I feel bad saying this, but the narrator was awful

I am having a hard time getting through this book because the author is so mechanical and devoid of personality. A good narrator changes his or her voice for certain characters, etc. This reader simply reads the words.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-09-13

This author is no friend of JFK Jr

Why would a self proclaimed loyal friend of JFK Jr write this kiss and tell book? It focuses of JFK Jr’s demons, which a friend wouldn’t do. This is a make a buck book at the expense of friendship....that is if the author ever really enjoyed such a friendship. Shame!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jacque
  • 2019-11-11

Too short a life

John's life was much too short. He had so much to offer. Another good guy gone much too soon.

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  • Happy Grandma
  • 2019-10-08

Why do we care?

The author expressed my most salient reasons in his Epilogue. Memory influences our every living moment.

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  • Gina Harris
  • 2019-09-14

New insights

So much has been written about JFK Jr and I’ve read nearly all of it. I was pleased and surprised to learn new details from someone so close to him. I appreciated the background given, though at times it seemed we were veering far off course. Sister Caroline and her husband Ed are portrayed in a negative light. No doubt they earned it. Well researched, written and read.

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  • KC in LA
  • 2019-09-07

Thorough and Touching

I found myself listening to this book, every chance I got. I, like many Americans, was devastated when John Junior died. Hearing and learning about his life to this degree was really profound. My only criticism would be that the book jumped all over the place timewise and sometimes it was hard to follow what period of time we were in in any given moment. But I really enjoyed it overall.

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  • Matt Munn
  • 2019-08-15

Honoring a Good Friend

Gillon gives us a rare glimpse into the life of an American icon that was just as human as rest of us. JFK Jr wanted to leave his mark through genuine accomplishment rather than just being remembered for his last name and in many respects he did. Gillon doesn’t set out to paint the rosy picture of the unfulfilled dreams of the Kennedy era but by the end you can’t help but think of what could have been for this promising young man that seemed to have so much life in front him. The book does an excellent job at taking this larger than life figure and humanizing him for the audience. We get a glimpse into John’s love life, his family, his friends, and the burdens of being a Kennedy.

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  • Danielle
  • 2019-07-26

Fascinating.

Anyone that is interested in JFK Jr. will find this book fascinating, well - researched and intriguing. There were aspects that felt overly wrought with unnecessary information especially the chapters focused on George. Overall, it was heartbreaking, entertaining, and an easy listen.

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  • MIllie Bonizio
  • 2019-07-21

Much Better Than I Expected

I really loved this book. It was poignant and at time tragically sad; it was informative and and enlightening.
I learned so much and I was kept engaged throughout.
The narrators voice was a wonderful listen.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful