Once Upon a Secret

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Once Upon a Secret
Once Upon a Secret (Mimi Alford book) cover.jpg
Author Mimi Alford
Country United States
Language English
Genre Autobiography
Publisher Random House
Publication date
8 February 2012
Media type Print
Pages 208
ISBN 978-1-4000-6910-1

Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath is a book by the former White House intern Mimi Alford in February 2012. It contains the autobiographical account of the woman who had an affair with U.S. President John F. Kennedy towards the end of his life (from June 1962 to July 1963).[1] Despite its consuming influence over her life at the time, Alford managed to keep her involvement in the affair secret for nearly 50 years, until basic details were published in the 2003 Kennedy biography An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963 by Robert Dallek.

As described by the book jacket, "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." Alford describes how she was completely swept away by Kennedy, losing her virginity to him during the fourth day of her service as an intern in the White House Press Office.[2] But she also describes her struggles to overcome the occasional disingenuous nature of her treatment by the president, as well as the progression of her own dawning realization and guilt she later felt about the inescapable part she played in his life, and he in hers.[3] Besides the relationship with the president, she also describes her unhappy first marriage and the emptiness of it.[4] According to the New York Times, "Ms. Alford claims to be completely purged of guilt, grief and baggage by the cleansing process of acknowledging past mistakes. And she describes a happy new marriage."[5] In terms of her defining such 'mistakes', however, the author's stated willingness to do again what she did, in the same circumstances, puts into perspective the genre of literature that her work represents, somewhat reminiscent of the media and publishing bonanza which followed reports of the relationship between US President Bill Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

It was published in hardcover, paperback, and ebook editions, and has received widespread media attention including inclusion on several bestseller lists. Most notably, it has spent several weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List,[6] the NPR Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller List,[7] and the Los Angeles Times Bestseller List.[8] The book was originally published in April 2011 by Hutchinson Radius.[9] Mimi Alford currently lives in Massachusetts with her second husband.


  1. ^ Mascia, Kristen (February 27, 2012). ed. Laurenza, Michael. "Books: My Love Affair with JFK", People, Time Inc. p. 45.
  2. ^ Mascia, p. 45.
  3. ^ Mascia, p. 45.
  4. ^ Mascia, p. 45.
  5. ^ Maslin, Janet. "Sure, Mr. President, if You Really Want Me To". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  6. ^ "Combined Print & eBook Nonfiction". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  7. ^ "NPR Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller List". NPR. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  8. ^ "Bestseller List". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  9. ^ Alford, Mimi (2011), Once Upon a Secret: My Hidden Affair with John F. Kennedy, Hutchinson Radius, ISBN 978-0091931759