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Monica Lewinsky inspires our Top 10 list of tell-all books

Written By | May 6, 2014

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2014 – Seems like no matter what you do, those tawdry and tacky tell-all books and stories just keep on coming. Latest case in point: Monica Lewinsky has recently broken a ten-year silence over her affair with President Bill Clinton in an article recently appearing in the aptly named “Vanity Fair.”

Ms. Lewinsky already told her story about her relationship with Mr. Clinton in “Monica’s Story” (1999), written by Andrew Morton. Yet there were news reports last year that Ms. Lewinsky was being offered $10 million to write a new book that would offer even more salacious details, including complaints by Mr. Clinton about his wife, and Lewinsky’s previously unpublished love letters to Mr. Clinton.

That magnum opus seems to be on hold for the moment, however, perhaps due to the gentle art of persuasion as practiced by the “Hilary 2016” cadre. But don’t hold your breath.

Meanwhile, Ms. Lewinsky and her telltale blue dress aren’t the only juicy scandals to end up as would-be literary masterpieces. The List of Ten looks at some other notable tell-all books, all of which are eminently worthy to compete with Andrew Morton’s magnum opus.

10. Rielle Hunter – Ms. Hunter released her memoir “What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me” in June 2012. The memoir revealed details of Hunter’s affair with the Sen., John Edwards the former presidential candidate during the 2008 contest, a relationship that led to an out-of-wedlock birth, campaign finance fraud charges and a high-profile trial. In October 2013, Ms. Hunter released “In Hindsight, What Really Happened: The Revised Edition: John Edwards, Our Daughter and Me,” in which she apologized for things that appeared in the earlier book.

9. Mia Farrow – In her memoir “What Falls Away,” Mia Farrow dished the dirt on her life with film actor and director Woody Allen. Ms. Farrow, who starred in many of Mr. Allen’s movies, detailed the Hollywood couple’s tumultuous breakup and Mr. Allen’s romance with and subsequent marriage to Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn. She accused her former partner of child molestation. Mr. Allen has adamantly denied the charges but is still dogged by the accusations.

8. Julia Phillips – The co-producer of “The Sting,” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” vented rage on Hollywood in her book “You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again.” The best-selling autobiographical tirade chronicled her $40,000-a -month cocaine habit and other nasty Tinseltown tidbits. Among other things, she labeled David Geffen a money-obsessed egomaniac and tore into Goldie Hawn.

7. Monica Lewinsky – Ms. Lewinsky took a vitriolic punch at independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr in “Monica’s Story,” written by Andrew Morton, calling Mr. Starr a “right-wing Southern Baptist,” in league with lawyers for Paula Jones and poised to entrap President Clinton. She asserted that she lived in constant fear and considered suicide. As for Mr. Clinton: “Now I see him as a selfish man who lies all the time. That makes me very angry and resentful.”

6. Jose Canseco – The Oakland Athletics outfielder was the first to uncover the dirt in baseball and turn on his fellow players in his book “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big.” The book set off a firestorm that still rages in baseball today. Mr. Canseco admitted to using steroids and accused other key sluggers like Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro of doing the same.

5. Shelly Winters – When Shelly Winters presented the first part of her autobiography in 1980 titled “Winters Shelley – Also Known as Shirley” to publishers, lawyers had to cut chunks out the book due to its considerable amount of potentially libelous material. The candid confessions of Hollywood’s “bad girl” went on to sell over two million copies. “Shelley II: The Middle Of My Century,” published in 1989 detailed more of her passionate affairs with a long list of Hollywood’s leading men and discussed the time when she thought she had murdered her husband.

4. Sondra Locke – No longer Clint Eastwood’s main squeeze after a 14-year relationship, Ms. Locke took revenge in a poison-pen portrait of her former lover in her book “The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly.” What stung her most about the split was when Mr. Eastwood’s lawyers ordering her to vacate the couple’s rambling Bel Air, California home. The details in her book, like the two abortions she had, support her contention that Mr. Eastwood is imperfect.

3. Sonny Bono – Before launching his U.S. Senate bid, Sonny Bono penned “And the Beat Goes On,” a tell-all autobiography chock full of his misadventures with sex, booze, rock ‘n’ roll and ex-wife Cher. Bono revealed all the family’s dirty linen. He and Cher performed their own marriage ceremony in the bathroom, but didn’t legally marry until daughter Chastity was a toddler. Cher once caught Sonny having sex with his secretary. Later, Cher dumped him by kicking him out of their Las Vegas hotel room so she could sleep with their band’s guitarist. The lurid details were endless in this book, but he was still elected.

2. Christina Crawford – The adopted daughter of screen legend Joan Crawford penned the devastatingly brutal book “Mommie Dearest,” which chronicled her life as the allegedly abused trophy child of an arrogant, fame-obsessed mother. Crawford’s hatchet job on her mother was turned into a major 1981 movie, with Faye Dunaway starring in the title role of this screen goddess in a legendarily over-the-top performance. We’ll never use wire hangers again. Ever.

1. Paul Burrell – It appears, the butler saw it all. Mr. Burrell, the footman for Queen Elizabeth II and later the butler and decade-long confidante to Princess Diana penned “A Royal Duty” in 2003. The book became a huge international bestseller prompting a furious backlash from Princes William and Harry, who pleaded with him “to bring these revelations to an end.” And indeed, this book was packed with royal revelations, notably a sexual assault on a Palace staffer by a senior member of the royal family.

P.S. And let’s not forget….Christopher Ciccone – Talk about brotherly love. Madonna’s younger brother turned the guns on the pop idol in his 2008 book “Life With My Sister Madonna.” Mr. Ciccone spilled the beans, dishing extensively on his sister’s rocky marriage to actor Sean Penn, her rows with film-director and former hubby Guy Ritchie, her drug taking and her alleged lesbian affairs.

Compiled  by John Haydon

Sources: The Washington Times, Wikipedia, Associated Press, The Daily Telegraph and Tribune Newspapers.


John Haydon

John Haydon has covered soccer for The Washington Times for two decades. He has reported on international soccer events in Germany, South Korea and Spain. John hails from Birmingham, England and has lived in the Washington D.C. region for over twenty years.