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Less than a year after President Kennedy’s assassination, his onetime mistress Mary Meyer was shot to death near her Georgetown home; the passerby accused of the crime was later acquitted. In this admiring, uneven bio, Meyer is portrayed as the beautiful, repressed housewife of a CIA bigwig who broke loose through divorce, Reichian sex therapy, expressionist painting, LSD experimentation, and many affairs. Since Meyer’s diary disappeared upon her death, journalist Nina Burleigh unfortunately overlays the many primary source gaps in A Very Private Woman: The Life and Unsolved Murder of Presidential Mistress Mary Meyer with melodramatic suppositions (even on Meyer’s dying moment: ”This was like no white she had ever known”). While Burleigh avoids offering theories about the unsolved murder, she vividly evokes one conspiracy of titillating interest today: how Washington insiders of the era kept their ”secretly swinging” activities discreet. B-

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