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Download Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath Audiobook, by Mimi Alford Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,761 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mimi Alford Narrator: Susan Denaker Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2012 ISBN: 9780307877802
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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.
 
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.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lindsay | 2/20/2014

    " Loved this book particularly because Mimi Alford is basically from my hometown. Anyone from Monmouth County, NJ would find this book interesting as she connects back to the area quite a bit. Aside from the NJ connection - the book gave some great juicy, gossipy insight into Mimi's experience with JFK and how it affected the rest of her life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 April Ziegler | 2/12/2014

    " I thought this was an interesting book... I liked how it gave a look at the times and how different things were at the White House and in the media. Prior to reading the book, I wasn't sure how much of this alleged affair I believed to be true. But there are historical accounts of her story and others that verify this to be true. Reading her description of the affair made me sad for her. It wasn't an exciting or romantic thing... the way she describes it, she was essentially just used for sex, never even being kissed by the president. The last half of the book, after JFK's death, wasn't of interest to me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann Lewis | 1/23/2014

    " Much more than a sex-scandal story!!! Thanks to Mimi for sharing traits that lead to a happy and peaceful life! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becky | 1/20/2014

    " This story was pretty interesting. I found the fact that she was providing her view of the way life was in that era the most intriguing. Her voice is very candid. I don't find myself so interested in the rest of her life after the Kennedy assassination, but I understand that that's part of her story and how she manages to come to terms with a secret. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Malins | 1/11/2014

    " Well, this book tells the story of a college girl who ended up as an intern for the White House, when she was 18 years old. It appears that the President (then President Kennedy) took an interest in her, and an intimate relationship developed. Interesting, but hard to read how he decided that she was to be his lover. Kind of sad in one way, I sort of recommend it with reservations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam | 12/28/2013

    " I'm embarassed that I liked it as much as I did. It was a different time, but that kind of thing is still going on today. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Greg | 12/19/2013

    " Kind of made me sick. Lost some respect for the man. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lesley Strom | 11/29/2013

    " So I'm not giving the 3 stars because I necessarily liked reading about the actual affair she had with JFK but because of her honesty in handling this time in her life. I appreciate her coming to terms with her affair and how she chooses to find her own happiness after it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Megan | 11/6/2013

    " Still not sure how I feel about this book - read like a fiction novel. Would love to hear what those who lived during this time thought of it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Monta | 11/3/2013

    " Wow, is all I can say. This was definitely a game-changer in my feelings about JFK. There's a difference between a man who can't keep his pants on and a predatory rapist. Read this book and see what you think. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stacey | 9/30/2013

    " Excellent book. Very tastefully done, great explaination of the times and I loved the insight to HER life that she gave! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beverly | 2/14/2013

    " This was an interesting read. I find it intriguing to have a window into somebody's mindset when they are reflecting upon their past. It is also interesting to try to understand times past and what was acceptable and what was taboo. Just interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 10/7/2012

    " One of the most revealing books I've ever read. The reader becomes a fly on the wall, witnessing the president's secret and compartmentalized life. The second part of the book is how Alford suffered from keeping the affair a secret most of her life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carl | 7/9/2012

    " You've got to read this book about another politican with feet of clay. sad but true. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jamie Greenheck | 6/17/2012

    " Interesting read although the writing isn't terribly strong. Could have skipped the self-analysis at the end. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beth Fagundes | 6/2/2012

    " I found this book tiresome. I guess I wanted to believe that Mimi was some sort of naive and innocent girl led down the garden path, but in reality I couldn't get there. I was bored very quickly with her story and ready for it to be over soon. I am glad I didn't purchase the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah Bowker | 5/22/2012

    " If her accounts are true, holy crow. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth Crawford | 5/4/2012

    " This book was short and to the point. She didn't try to glorify her affair or excuse it. It just was what is was. I think this is an honest account of her affair and how it inadvertently effected the rest of her life. Great read. "

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About the Narrator

Susan Denaker is an actress and Earphones Award–winning narrator. Her extensive theater credits include numerous plays in the West End of London, national tours, many English rep companies, including a season with Alan Ayckbourn’s company in Scarborough. In the US, she has appeared in Our Town and Sweet Bird of Youth at the La Jolla Playhouse and Breaking Legs at the Westport Playhouse.