The smooth, masculine voice of actor Paul Boehmer (Star Trek) guides the listener through the strange and provocative world of male hyper-sexuality, pharmaceutical dependence, and power in American Adulterer, a novel. The male in question is fallen president John F. Kennedy.
Author Jed Mercurio, a novelist and television writer with a background in medicine, makes his book equal parts fictionalized biography and medical speculation. Kennedy is seen here not only as a liberal hero or a scheming philanderer or any number of other identities that have been placed upon him through the years, but rather as a victim of unrelenting medical crises which result in a compulsion to philander. Not purely clinical, however, Boehmer and Mercurio give the plot plenty of action.
American Adulterer examines the psychology of a habitual womanizer in hypnotically clinical prose. Like any successful philanderer, the subject must be circumspect in his choice of mistresses and employ careful calculation in their seduction; he must exercise every effort to conceal his affairs from his wife and jealous rivals. But this is no ordinary adulterer. He is the thirty-fifth president of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
JFK famously confided that if he went three days without a woman, he suffered severe headaches. Acclaimed author Jed Mercurio takes inspiration from the tantalizing details surrounding the president's sex life to conceive this provocatively intimate perspective on Kennedy's affairs.
Yet this is not an indictment. Startlingly empathetic, darkly witty, and deft, American Adulterer is a moving account of a man not only crippled by back pain but enduring numerous medical crises, a man overcoming constant suffering to serve as a highly effective commander-in-chief, committed to a heroically idealistic vision of America. But each affair propels him into increasingly murky waters. President Kennedy fears losing the wife and children to whom he's devoted and the office to which he's dedicated.
This is a stunning portrait of a virtuous man enslaved by an uncontrollable vice and a novel that poses controversial questions about society's evolving fixation on the private lives of public officials and, ultimately, ignites a polemic on monogamy, marriage, and family values.
©2009 Jed Mercurio; (P)2009 Tantor
"JFK's contemporaries are also cast in provocative roles, with the coke-sniffing Marilyn Monroe plotting to be first lady, the mobbed-up Frank Sinatra and Kennedy's Soviet counterpart - a peace-seeking Nikita Khrushchev - all making memorable appearances. Kennedy has figured prominently in hundreds of books, but Mercurio's take on the subject is fresh, bold and provocative." (Publishers Weekly)
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