3.0 out of 5 stars A HERO BUT NOT A SAINT,April 14, 2012
This review is from: Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath (Hardcover)

Mimi Alford’s story is very believable and the book is well written. It is obvious that sharing her long held secret was necessary for her emotional healing and no one has a right to criticize her for telling her story. And her story is important for historians to get a better understanding of one aspect of Kennedy’s character. Psychologists today would say that Kennedy had a compulsive sexual addiction. He used his power, money and good looks to seduce women as a way of escaping stress and distracting him from the almost constant physical pain that he suffered from. Also the steroids he took for his Addison’s Disease most likely increased his sex drive.

However, if we think more deeply this book can help teach us an important lesson. Unless a politician forcibly rapes someone or sexually molests a child or adolescent it is best that, while they are living, their sex lives be kept private just like everyone else’s.

If the public had known about Kennedy’s sex life in 1960 he never would have been elected. Richard Nixon, who was closely aligned with the right-wing hawks in the Pentagon and CIA( as Vice President Nixon helped plan the Bay of Pigs invasion) would have given us a war with Cuba in 1961; a much earlier escalation of the conflict in Vietnam; and a showdown with the Soviets over Berlin very possibly resulting in a nuclear confrontation. Not to mention what would have happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The media that covered Washington in the days of FDR, Eisenhower and Kennedy were wiser than their current brethren. They had the common sense to realize that human sexuality is deeply personal and very complex and has little, or nothing, to do with the way a leader conducts himself in office. That is why despite the public knowledge of Kennedy’s numerous sexual affairs he was still ranked as our sixth greatest president in the most recent American Historical Association poll of professional historians

The saddest thing about this book is not how it tarnishes the image of JFK, but that it might distract us from the much more important( for us as citizens) task of understanding the significance of Kennedy’s presidency and why he was murdered by the CIA. For that I direct readers to ” JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters” by James Douglass.

Sure we would all prefer a president who conducted himself morally in both private and public matters. but if given a choice between someone such as Kennedy who showed enormous courage and restraint in his efforts to keep us out of war; or someone like George W. Bush who, though faithful to his wife, lied and manipulated us into an unnecessary war, I would gladly take the former. We certainly know by now that John F. Kennedy was not a saint. But he most certainly was a hero.

About vincepalamara

Vincent Palamara was born in Pittsburgh and graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in Sociology. Although not even born when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Vince brings fresh eyes to an old case. In fact, Vince would go on to study the largely overlooked actions - and inactions - of the United States Secret Service in unprecedented detail, as well as achieving a world's record in the process, having interviewed and corresponded with over 80 former agents (the House Select Committee on Assassinations had the old record of 46 with a 6 million dollar budget and subpoena power from Congress), not to mention many surviving family members, White House aides, and even quite a few Parkland and Bethesda medical witnesses for a corresponding project. The result was Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service & The Failure To Protect President Kennedy. Vince is also the author of the books JFK: From Parkland To Bethesda, The Not-So-Secret Service, Who's Who in the Secret Service, and Honest Answers about the Murder of President John F. Kennedy: A New Look at the JFK Assassination. All told, Vince has been favorably mentioned in over 140 JFK and Secret Service related books to date (including two whole chapters in Murder in Dealey Plaza, The Secret Service: The Hidden History Of An Enigmatic Agency by Philip Melanson, and the Final Report of the Assassination Records Review Board, among many others), often at length, in the bibliographies, and in the Secret Service - and even medical evidence - areas of these works. Vince has appeared on the History Channel's THE MEN WHO KILLED KENNEDY (VHS and DVD), C-SPAN, Newsmax TV, A COUP IN CAMELOT (DVD/BLU RAY), KING KILL '63, THE MAN BEHIND THE SUIT (DVD), National Geographic's JFK: THE FINAL HOURS (including on DVD), PCN, BPTV, local cable access television, YouTube, radio, newspapers, print journals, at national conferences, and all over the internet. Also, Vince's original research materials, or copies of said materials, are stored in the National Archives (by request under Deed Of Gift by the ARRB), the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Harvard University, the Assassination Archives and Research Center, and the Dallas Public Library. Vince Palamara has become known (as he was dubbed by the History Channel in 2003) "the Secret Service expert." As former JFK Secret Service agent Joe Paolella proclaimed: "You seem to know a lot about the Secret Service, maybe even more than I do!" Agent Dan Emmett calls Vince a Secret Service expert in his new book.
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