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A Very Private Woman: The Life and Unsolved Murder of Presidential Mistress Mary Meyer

Burleigh, Nina

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ISBN 10: 0553106295 / ISBN 13: 9780553106299
Published by Bantam Books, New York, 1998
Condition: good, good
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

25 cm, 356, illus., notes, index, red pencil note and marginal underlining on p. 23, DJ somewhat soiled. Mary Pinchot Meyer, a former CIA wife and John F. Kennedy's mistress, was found shot to death on a Georgetown towpath less than a year after Kennedy's assassination. Bookseller Inventory # 45101

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Very Private Woman: The Life and Unsolved ...

Publisher: Bantam Books, New York

Publication Date: 1998

Book Condition: good, good

Edition: First Printing.

About this title


One of the enduring mysteries of recent decades was the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer, the well-born, beautiful, rebellious, and intelligent ex-wife of a CIA official, who was killed on a quiet Georgetown towpath in 1964. Mary Meyer was a mistress of JFK, and after her death, news that she had kept a diary set off a tense search for the document by CIA spymaster James Jesus Angelton as well as Mary's brother-in-law, journalist Ben Bradlee. But the crime was never solved, and today her life and death are still a source of fascination, as Nina Burleigh will reveal in a book that looks at a heady, sometimes glamorous period in the nation's capitol, and at a woman who embodied the grace and turbulence of her times.


On October 12, 1964, socialite Mary Meyer was shot to death along a wooded path where she was taking her afternoon walk. Ordinarily such a crime wouldn't attract the attention of the CIA's head of counterintelligence, but Meyer was no ordinary Washington socialite. Born into a wealthy, bohemian family in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Meyer studied at Vassar, worked as a journalist during World War II, married--and later divorced--a war hero, became a proto-feminist, experimented with drugs, and had an affair with John F. Kennedy. When Meyer decided to try LSD, she didn't get it from some random dealer and trip in the park. Instead she turned to Timothy Leary himself--and, evidence suggests, she might have eventually shared her stash with the President of the United States.

Shortly after Meyer was found dead, her diaries were spirited away: her brother-in-law, Ben Bradlee, turned the documents over to the aforementioned CIA official, James Jesus Angleton, believing that it was in her, and others', best interest that her secrets die with her. A Very Private Woman pieces together some of these secrets, and hints at many more. It's a compelling story not only of a woman who lived at the edges of power, influence, and history, but who lived in and was buffeted by some of the most significant cultural changes of the second half of the 20th century. --Lisa Higgins

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