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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and worth reading, 28 Mar 2014
This review is from: Secrets and Lies - The Real Story of Political Scandal That Mesmerised the World - The Profumo Affair (Kindle Edition)
In any era, a story of a 19 year old girl having a sexual relationship with a British Minister of War at the same time as a suspected Russian spy is going to make front page headlines around the world. However, this was the early 1960's just prior to the 60's revolution. Those were the days when most British believed the ruling classes were in monogamous marital relationships and good girls remained a virgin until they married. So when the story broke about the relationship between Christine Keeler and Jack Profumo, the public also found out that the upper classes were not so squeaky clean as they were led to believe. This scandal blew the lid off of the reputation of the ruling classes and brought down the government of the time. Stories of orgies attended by high court judges and members of parliament were becoming commonplace as the various Court cases and public enquiry relating to the story was reported in the newspapers. Then throw into the mix a couple of beautiful teenage girls (Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davis) who also had associations with gangsters and racketeers and heaven forbid, sexual relations with black men, you had the full attention of a British public who didn't know whether to be outraged or titillated by it. Nevertheless, because of the era the above events turned into one of the biggest scandals of the twentieth century and is still being talked about today. There is even a musical in the West End about Stephen Ward one of the central players in the scandal who committed suicide after being found guilty of living off of immoral earnings.
This book is Christine Keeler's version of events: written with Douglas Thompson. First published in 2002 and updated in 2014. It is generally recognized today that Stephen Ward should not have been convicted of living off immoral earnings. However, Christine Keeler states in the book that Stephen Ward was spying for the Russians. This is not a view expressed by all the players in the scandal, but what is clear, is that the sex angel got more publicity than the issues of national security when the story originally broke.
While reading the book I found myself alternating between having sympathy for Christine Keeler for being a young teenager totally out of her depth while caught up in one of the biggest scandals of all time, to being frustrated with her for continuing to make the same mistakes over and over again, even as she got older, particularly with regard to her relationships while continuing to blame external factor. On one level she could be seen as a victim of circumstances, but she also made her own lifestyle choices. This book is interesting and worth reading, but the book is just one view of the situation and I found myself cross referencing certain events on the internet to try to gain a broader perspective of what really happened.
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