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Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath Hardcover – Feb 8 2012

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (Feb. 8 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400069106
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400069101
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.4 x 21.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 91 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #314,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“With the benefit of hindsight and good old-fashioned maturity, [Mimi Alford] writes not just about the secret, but the corrosive effect of keeping that secret. . . . You can’t help liking her, or her elegant and thoroughly good-natured book.”—The Spectator
“What [Alford] sacrificed in lucre she has more than recovered in credibility and dignity.”—The Washington Times
“Compelling . . . a polished voice telling a credible story you can take to the bank.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Explosive . . . searingly candid.”—New York Post

About the Author

Mimi Alford lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, Dick. Together they have seven grandchildren. This is her first book.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found the book fascinating actually. Being a great admirer of President Kennedy's I was both shocked and amazed at what seemed to be such "ease" to seduce a young woman and it took you through different feelings towards them both. I found it a great read and hard to put down -
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By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on July 31 2010
Format: Hardcover
This tell-all account of Mimi Alford's life as one of JFK's bimbos in the White House, during the period of 1962-63, has been out in magazine form for at least six years now. Everyone knows that during this time Kennedy was carrying on with many paramours, right under Jackie's nose, and that these young ladies were interns hired to do secretarial duties, much like Monica in the Clinton White House. Near the end of her working life as an office manager for a local Presbyterian church, Alford, a widow, may have decided the time was right to snag one of those lucrative book deals that could guarantee a nice retirement. What will she have to tell in order to reap her windfall? Salacious tidbits about sex with JFK? The mental pain and stress she experienced from being exploited by one of the most powerful men in modern times? A confession of how those eighteen months in the secret embraces of a US president has altered her views on life? I raise these possibilities with the caveat that I am not sure what she wants to trot out in this collaborative effort with a ghost writer. If she tells all, readers will only be able to say that they suspected as much. If she holds back and only lets out a few spicy details to whet the appetites of her readership, people will say she is being modest because the rules of publishing decorum still protect the Kennedy name. My intuition tells me that Mimi will very delicately weave the naughty parts into the greater story of innocence, failure, recovery and redemption so that readers do not write her off as a sensationalist who wants to profit from her flings with JFK. Yes, I might be slightly interested in learning a little how that dastard, Kennedy, inveigled his lovers into bed but does it really constitute the makings of an instructive story?Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Obviously this book isn't written by someone seeking their fifteen minutes of fame- Mimi Alford knows too many names and details from that period to be published if there were leaks in her story. That being said, the first thought that comes into my head regarding this novel is that it echoes the narrative of Monica and Clinton, which strangely, took place after. Clearly, tarts have been disguised as interns in the White House for the salacious interests of the President since tale as old as time.

What is fascinating about Mimi's account is the emphasis she realized in the power of politics. Of course Presidents have been seducing naive, nineteen year old girls since tale as old as time. Look how easy it was. Yet, even more interesting than Mimi admitting the power "the President" had over her; was the ability she has in telling her story so that one questions if Mimi acted any differently than the rest of us would have. Whose going to turn down an invitation the White House? to travel first class on presidential excursions? weekend getaways? but more than that- she stresses the psychological aspect any girl feels when an admirable man gives her attention. even if it weren't the president, any girl wud be flattered.

And I personally can't even believe people are surprised to learn that JFK was a womanizer, moreover, its crazy to think that people would think that this book would tarnish his memory. Much like Bill Clinton, these men were great presidents, so much so that JFK is idolized and almost defied by people. Yet, what Mimi ultimately exposes is him as a person. No doubt he was publicly charming but there were layers to him and often people forget he was human too.

And so was she, which is ultimately what the story is about. It's her story.
Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9bc69954) out of 5 stars 573 reviews
321 of 347 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9756b5dc) out of 5 stars well written look into a long held secret... Feb. 9 2012
By Campbell - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The people bashing this book (especially those that haven't even read the book) merely b/c the author had the AUDACITY to tell her story need to get over themselves. Of COURSE this is truth. I believe every word of it. It is well documented that President Kennedy had scores of other women. It is also true that the author was outed by another author. John Kennedy was the most powerful man in the world. He was dashing and handsome and incredibly charismatic...all these things also well and endlessly documented. Why is it so hard to believe that a very young, incredibly naive and sheltered young woman would find herself in this situation. This was a different time. If the president wanted young girls in his bed, he had them. Nobody batted an eyelash. The legend of Camelot and the Kennedy clan make for wonderful stories but the truth is that John Kennedy was human. He was a man raised in an elite world in which he was groomed his entire life to become the president. He did whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. These young girls were at his disposal. Period. Trying to imagine being a 19 year old virgin with zero experience with men, being led to a bed by president Kennedy makes ME speechless. Yes she could have said no. She could have walked theory. Yet his power over her was just as strong as any force on this planet. It would take a very mature and strong 19 year old to tell the president to back off. NOBODY said no to Kennedy. Not even grown men and certainly not young girls. The author of this book isn't painting him as someone who assaulted her. She is being very honest about being swept up and away by the situation and the momentum of the man and his incredible presence and charisma. I think she is brave to tell her story. Listen if you want to, or don't listen, but don't call her a liar just b/c you don't like the way truth grates against the fairy tale in your head.
804 of 888 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9756b630) out of 5 stars thump on the head to Barbara Walters of THE VIEW Feb. 10 2012
By tink-the-cat - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The insaneness of the ladies of The View made me order this - Barbara Walters and Whoopie Goldberg in essence scolded this woman for writing this book, asking this woman if she had thought about Caroline Kennedy's feelings??!! I was STUNNED!! WHo cares about Caroline Kennedy! Did Jack Kennedy ever think about his own actions - did he think about what he was doing to an impressionable teenager? Did he think about HIS LEGACY and his grandchildren?? SHAME ON YOU BARBARA - but I guess you'll still get invited the Caroline's hoUse to dinner because you did try!!! SHAME ON YOU WHOOPIE - you should have empathy towards someone who was taken advantage're both hypocrites - which is why I am buying this book - I hope this woman makes millions - and that other young women read it - perhaps they will think twice when being manipulated not only by powerful men - but by old ladies who should know better - TWO THUMPS ON THE HEAD - ONE FOR WHOOPIE AND ONE FOR BARBARA!!
377 of 416 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9756ba68) out of 5 stars Believeable And Depressing Feb. 9 2012
By G.I Gurdjieff - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book tells the story of Mimi Beardsley Alford, who as a 19 year old White House intern, had a sexual relationship with President Kennedy for an approximate 18 month period from June, 1962 to November, 1963. A relatively short book, it provides information about Alford's family background, her education, her affair with JFK,the fallout that came from keeping the relationship secret and then having it outed 40+ years later.
While the veracity of her claims have come under a lot of scrutiny, I tend to think that she is telling the truth. I also get it in regard to how a young woman can get hoodwinked into a sordid affair with a powerful man.
What I don't get is why this very short book was written. I saw Alford on a 60 minute television interview with Meredith Viera tonight after I finished this book. Truthfully, the interview basically covered the main points covered in the book. While on tv and in this book Alford remembers JFK with fondness, I thought JFK came off badly and at times really quite perverse. It was very obvious that Alford was one of many women that JFK used for sex. Speaking of her personal experiences with the president, Alford was blunt but not overtly graphic. Mostly she talked about the sexual liasons in the White House and on the road, playing what she called the "waiting game" which consisted of being sequestered in a hotel room(to avoid detection) until JFK had time for sex. She also had a pregnancy scare which turned out to be a false alarm, though first friend Dave Powers flew into action and managed to provide her with the phone number of an abortionist. Apparently the realities of her situation didn't shake up Alford enough as the relationship with Kennedy sputtered on for another year.
I guess as a woman in 2012, a lot of Alford's youthful reasoning regarding this relationship when it was going on sounds ludicrous. However, if you put it into perspective of the way a young woman might have thought in 1963 it probably seems more plausible. That Alford appears to have been extremely naive adds to that credibility. When all this was going on, she appears to have given little thought to the entire thing except to maintain the veil of secrecy that was in place to protect Kennedy. The best way I can describe the whole thing is that Mimi was extremely naive and was victimized on a lot of levels.
Interestingly enough, while all of this was going on it was an open secret to employees of the White House and the press who well aware of the president's activities. Kennedy wasn't concerned with subtlety on most levels and was unbelievably arrogant as many people in a position of power can be.
Does Kennedy's legend take another blow with this book? Probably not. This sort of thing has been out in print for years, but it seems like this is just another dent in his armor. He comes across even creepier than I imagined, but that's just my opinion.
In the end, I didn't dislike this book but it left me feeling bad that her youthful errors in judgement had long lasting and unhappy ramifications that haunted her for so much of her adult life. It also left me with a lot of questions that Alford concedes she cannot answer because she never thought about them at the time.
In the end, reading this book will get people talking and may alter the public perception of what kind of person JFK was.
100 of 111 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9756ba50) out of 5 stars Honest and Disturbing Feb. 10 2012
By Researcher - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I stayed up last night into the wee hours reading this book. I believe every single word of it. I have absolutely no sympathy for the chorus that is singing "What will Caroline think?" HER father should have thought of that....not Mimi. Having been a young girl once upon a time in Washington, D.C., I can understand exactly how Mimi got caught up in things. She was no match for her predator. Do I believe that this impacted her marriage and future happiness? Yessssss. Do I appreciate her honesty and candor and courage for writing the book? Yessssss. Do I hope that her honest effort to accurately tell her side of a story makes her wealthy? Yesssss. I have absolutely no patience for the chorus who are chirping that this is made of whole cloth because JFK is dead. There is PLENTY of corroborative evidence. Congrats, Mimi. Thanks for your courage. Once again, for those critics who accuse Mimi of making this up, do a little research before you spout off.
100 of 116 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9756be10) out of 5 stars good reading Feb. 8 2012
By J. King - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. I pre-purchased it and opened it on Kindle lastnight. I read most of it lastnight and then just finished it today. It was hard to put down, not because of juicy details but for the real feelings she shares and the interesting way she dissects herself and her own feelings. I loved her real time analysis of herself back then and herself while married to Tony and then as a woman who finally found her voice. I really loved reading her entire description of what it was like, what she went through, how she felt. I cried when she talked about how she felt when JFK was killed. I would definitely recommend this book.