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American Adulterer: A Novel [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Jed Mercurio , Paul Boehmer
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Audio, CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged 24.51  

Book Description

22 Sep 2009
The subject is American citizen holding high elected office, married and father to a young family...

From its opening line, American Adulterer explores the life of a habitual womaniser in hypnotically clinical prose. The subject regards his high libido as physiologically normal;if he goes without a woman for three days, he suffers withdrawal symptoms. Yet this particular philanderer is in no position to live with bohemian abandon. He must be circumspect in his choice of partners and employ careful calculation in their seduction. He must go to extraordinary lengths to conceal his affairs from his wife and his political rivals and with good reason, since he is the 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Jed Mercurio shows us Kennedy's affairs with Marilyn Monroe, mob moll Judith Campbell, libertine Mary Meyer, and his flings with numerous White House staff, including his tryst with a nineteen-year-old intern whose unofficial role was to provide sexual release for the man who was Leader of the Free world during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Yet he never demonises his subject, instead offering a sympathetic and wholly credible portrait of a virtuous man in the grip of an uncontrollable vice. Each affair propels President Kennedy into increasingly murky waters. He fears losing the wife and children to whom he's devoted, and the office to which he's dedicated. And despite being crippled by back pain, and suffering from a range of other debilitating ailments, Kennedy is a highly effective Commander-in-Chief, with an idealistic vision of America.

Through its study of an important historical figure, this remarkable, ground-breaking novel poses controversial questions about society's evolving fixation on the private lives of public officials and, ultimately ignites a polemic on monogamy, marriage and traditional family values.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc; Unabridged edition (22 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400113679
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400113675
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 14.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,151,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jed Mercurio is a novelist who regularly works in TV as a writer, producer and director. His books are Bodies (2002), Ascent (2007), American Adulterer (2009) and, for children, the Penguin Expedition (2003). He grew up in England and currently splits his work between London and Los Angeles.

Mercurio trained at the University of Birmingham Medical School and practised as a junior hospital doctor for three years. While still a medical student, he joined the Royal Air Force and received extensive flying training, with the intention of specialising in aviation medicine. Instead, after replying to an advertisement placed in the British Medical Journal, Mercurio detoured into writing the controversial, ground-breaking BBC medical drama Cardiac Arrest (under the pseudonym John MacUre). The show was a gritty and blackly comic expose of hospital life. Mercurio went from never having written a script to creating a primetime hit.

Next he created and scripted the 6-hour miniseries Invasion: Earth, a coproduction between the BBC and the US Sci-Fi Channel, followed by The Grimleys. The Grimleys was a rites-of-passage comedy set in the Midlands in the 1970s; starring Brian Conley, Amanda Holden and Noddy Holder, it ran for three series on ITV. As well as creating and writing the Grimleys, Mercurio directed seven episodes.

Mercurio returned to dark medical fiction with his first novel, Bodies, published by Jonathan Cape (2002). He adapted the novel for TV, winning the Royal Television Society Award for Best Drama Series of 2005. Bodies dealt unflinchingly with issues of negligence, cover-ups and whistleblowing. In December 2009 the Times ranked Bodies #9 TV Show of the Decade and in January 2010 it was ranked #20 Best TV Drama of All Time by the Guardian.

After writing a children's book, The Penguin Expedition, Mercurio's second novel, Ascent, was published by Jonathan Cape (UK) and Simon and Schuster (US) in 2007 and made the Guardian's list of "1000 Novels Everyone Must Read". Ascent tells the story of a fictional Soviet fighter pilot, later cosmonaut, set against the background of the Korean War and the Space Race. A graphic novelization of Ascent, illustrated by Wesley Robins, was published in 2011.

Mercurio wrote and directed a modern-day television film of Frankenstein, starring James Purefoy, Helen McCrory and Lindsay Duncan, and then adapted Chris Ryan's "Strike Back" into a successful series for Sky. His most recent television production, "Line of Duty", a police corruption drama series, was broadcast in 2012 to critical acclaim; the programme achieved the highest ratings for a BBC2 drama in ten years, and has been commissioned for a second series to be filmed in 2013.

Jed Mercurio's most recent novel for Cape and Simon & Schuster was American Adulterer, a fictionalization of President John F. Kennedy's personal life, published in Spring 2009.

Product Description


"Remarkable... The president's wit, courtesy, peacemaking vision and cool judgement are all here, vividly re-created, as well as courage in the face of near disabling infirmity and pain....gripping and thoughtful" (Hugo Barnacle The Sunday Times)

"Compelling. Glacially elegant prose... depicts a man who, for all his power, remains imprisoned by desire" (Adrian Turpin Financial Times)

"He writes in brilliantly clinical prose...His real success is here is to highlight how JFK moved politics into a culture of celebrity...Mercurio finds a truth in JFK through fiction" (Ben East Metro)

"Mercurio ought to be applauded for the boldness of his project...The Cuban Missile Crisis is brilliantly, claustrophobically handled, and the treatment of the president's tragically premature son Joseph so riveted me that I found my head reluctantly buried in the book as I walked down the street and bumped into things" (Archie Bland Independent)

"American Adulterer is a novel of our times: shameless and prurient, detached and salacious" (Sean O'Hagan The Observer) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


`American Adulterer is a novel of our times: shameless and prurient, detached and salacious.' --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hybrid of a book... 13 Mar 2010
By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER
Mercurio's "analytic" study of the physical side - both medical and erotic - of John Kennedy's life is quite interesting. It's "fiction", but with a healthy dose of actual facts about Kennedy, his marriage, and his Presidency. Mercurio writes with a "removed" voice; he's presenting his story of Kennedy as he would a scientific study of a man - conflicted in so many ways - as a "subject" of a report.

John Kennedy was a man with almost ingrained carnal urges, that were not satisfied within the bounds of marriage. Early in his life, he recognised that he would always have sexual needs. He married Jacqueline Bouvier - herself the daughter of a charming philanderer - who seemed to be the only woman he was interested in maintaining an out-of-bed relationship with. He expected her to go along with his blatant bedding of other women and she appeared to do so, occasionally even seeming to abet the deeds by giving him the room and time he needed to make conquests. Of course, that quid-pro-quo didn't come cheaply as her often insane spending on furniture, clothes, jewelry and other personal items suggest a passive/aggressive relationship with her husband.

Kennedy also had many physical frailties, some evident from childhood and others obtained during difficult war-time service in the Pacific. He had a staff of doctors at the White House, who were often at odds with each other over the on-going treatment of his Addison's Disease, back injuries, and other ailments, which often kept him in physical agony. And, then, there was of course, "Dr Feelgood", given the nickname by those patients - including Kennedy and his wife - to whom he gave injections of feel-good narcotics to keep going.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable telling of a familiar tale 31 Oct 2012
By Dexter
American Adulterer by Jed Mercurio ,is a novel(pardon the pun)approach to historical fiction. It takes a well known figure,John Kennedy,and treats him as a medical subject. We are then given a guided tour of his medical history from his election to his death. We are also provided with insight into his mind, particularly why he felt the need to have sex outside his marriage.

The picture we get is not a pleasant one. You get the feeling that Kennedy did not have a high regard for women. He reminds me of Dan Draper from Mad Men,women as disposable entities apart from his wife. The section with regard to his use of Fiddle, Fiddle and Fuddle make you cringe.His sexual needs seemed to matter more than any feelings towards these women. The role of President, gave Kennedy rich opportunities to satisfy his sexual thirst, which was considerable. The only woman that he had any genuine feelings for was Jackie,his wife and mother of his children.

The writer also describes Kennedy's relationships with Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe,Mary Meyer and Curtis Le May. Future President Bill Clinton even makes an appearance!

We are reminded that Kennedy was also under constant medical treatment from his team of doctors. He was beset by an array of ailments from Addison's Disease,constipation, allergies and his back. The amount of drugs that he was ingesting was staggering. Would he have survived as President if the public knew his real medical history? Clearly, he was a very sick man.

Having said that, the writer does stress the humanity of the man. I defy you not to be moved by chapter that deals with the death of his son, Patrick. Very moving.

If I have one criticism,it is that Robert Kennedy is not mentioned at all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Go on treat yourself! 21 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
American Adulterer is a terrific insight into the world of JFK - once you can get past the fact/fiction mix. Mercurio tells the story from the point of view of 'the subject' the subject being JFK and clearly uses a certain amount of fiction to wind around the facts he delivers thereby producing an absorbing read with proper turn-the-page quality that we have come to expect from this writer. An ambitious book that delivers on all levels - you really won't be disappointed.
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