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Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President…
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Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its… (2012)

by Mimi Alford

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
It's good for what it was. Short, good story-telling. I liked that the author focused on her story, without including the many different tangential stories that she was not involved in that could have been included. ( )
  meaghyn | Mar 23, 2014 |
I found this story riveting. I couldn't stop thinking about how this experience would be for a 19 year old. I want one of my friends to read it so I can talk to them about it. It would be an interesting read for a book club, at least it made me want to talk about it! The audio was easy to listen to - parts of it were a tad melodramatic. ( )
1 vote carolfoisset | Mar 16, 2014 |
A mildly interesting story from the young woman's point of view. At least from the viewpoint of her older, wiser self. Although she draws life lessons from the experience and feels she has become more self-actualized than she would have without the experience, I still found it a depressingly common story of abuse of power by the men who run our country. Even worse, men whom so many idolize and admire. ( )
  PortM | Nov 30, 2013 |
So glad I read this book. I think that having a daughter may have swayed my feelings about this book. This a quick read, but the honesty with which Mimi Alford shared her story touched my heart. It is sad to me how she was "seduced" even though she doesn't tell it like that. I like how she doesn't lay blame, at least no more than she blames herself. She also doesn't come up with lame excuses about how and why her life evolved the way it did. A simple one moment decision can change our lives and it certainly changed hers. In the scope of her life, it gave her great moments and great pain. At the end of the day, she finally comes to acceptance and understanding and what I hope is true happiness. Though she didn't say terrible things about JFK (or anyone), I am left with no respect for JFK. Sorry. Great heart felt story. I wish Mimi great joy and happiness. ( )
  LASMIT | Jan 11, 2013 |
Any reader who is expecting "Shades of Gray With JFK" in Mimi Alford's "tell-all" memoir will likely be disappointed. That is, unless one considers vignettes that have a revered president frolicking in a White House bathtub with an intern and rubber duckies to be exceptionally racy. With few exceptions, Alford stops short of serving up loads of bedroom-based details about her affair with John F. Kennedy. What's most fascinating about this short tome is how the author puts her White House escapades on a historic time line, allowing readers to discover what the president was doing "after hours" during such milestones as the Cuban Missile Crisis and Martin Luther King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech. As a contemporary history buff, I really enjoyed most of the book. True, the author seems to go easy on JFK, never really condemning his absolutely despicable behavior. And the last couple sections of the book regarding Alford's later relationships seem to go on for too long. But overall, I think it's a book worthy of reading. ( )
  brianinbuffalo | Jul 31, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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Everyone has a secret. This is mine.
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Book description
In the summer of 1962, nineteen-year-old Mimi Beardsley arrived by train in Washington, D.C., to begin an internship in the White House press office. The Kennedy Administration had reinvigorated the capital and the country—and Mimi was eager to contribute. For a young woman from a privileged but sheltered upbringing, the job was the chance of a lifetime. Although she started as a lowly intern, Mimi made an impression on Kennedy’s inner circle and, after just three days at the White House, she was presented to the President himself.


Almost immediately, the two began an affair that would continue for the next eighteen months.


In an era when women in the workplace were still considered “girls,” Mimi was literally a girl herself—naïve, innocent, emotionally unprepared for the thrill that came when the President’s charisma and power were turned on her full-force. She was also unprepared for the feelings of isolation that would follow as she fell into the double life of a college student who was also the secret lover of the most powerful man in the world. Then, after the President’s tragic death in Dallas, she grieved in private, locked her secret away, and tried to start her life anew, only to find that her past would cast a long shadow—and ultimately destroy her relationship with the man she married.


In 2003, a Kennedy biographer mentioned “a tall, slender, beautiful nineteen-year-old college sophomore and White House intern, who worked in the press office” in reference to one of the President’s affairs. The disclosure set off a tabloid frenzy and soon exposed Mimi and the secret that she had kept for forty-one years. Because her past had been revealed in such a shocking, public way, she was forced, for the first time, to examine the choices she’d made. She came to understand that shutting down one part of her life so completely had closed her off from so much more.


No longer defined by silence or shame, Mimi Alford has finally unburdened herself with this searingly honest account of her life and her extremely private moments with a very public man. Once Upon a Secret offers a new and personal depiction of one of our most iconic leaders and a powerful, moving story of a woman coming to terms with her past and moving out of the shadows to reclaim the truth.
[retrieved 8/20/12 from Amazon.com]
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In the summer of 1962, nineteen-year-old Mimi Beardsley arrived by train in Washington, D.C., to begin an internship in the White House press office. The Kennedy Administration had reinvigorated the capital and the country--and Mimi was eager to contribute. For a young woman from a privileged but sheltered upbringing, the job was the chance of a lifetime. Although she started as a lowly intern, Mimi made an impression on Kennedy's inner circle and, after just three days at the White House, she was presented to the President himself. Almost immediately, the two began an affair that would continue for the next eighteen months.… (more)

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