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

Nina Burleigh

Published by Bantam Books, 1999
ISBN 10: 0553380516 / ISBN 13: 9780553380514
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Synopsis: In 1964, Mary Pinchot Meyer, the beautiful, rebellious, and intelligent ex-wife of a top CIA official, was killed on a quiet Georgetown towpath near her home. Mary Meyer was a secret mistress of President John F. Kennedy, whom she had known since private school days, and after her death, reports that she had kept a diary set off a tense search by her brother-in-law, newsman Ben Bradlee, and CIA spymaster James Jesus Angleton. But the only suspect in her murder was acquitted, and today her life and death are still a source of intense speculation, as Nina Burleigh reveals in her widely praised book, the first to examine this haunting story.

Review: 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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Title: A Very Private Woman: The Life and Unsolved ...
Publisher: Bantam Books
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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