This explosive narrative reveals for the first time the shocking hidden years of Coco Chanel’s life: her collaboration with the Nazis in Paris, her affair with a master spy, and her work for the German military intelligence service and Himmler’s SS.
Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was the high priestess of couture who created the look of the modern woman. By the 1920s she had amassed a fortune and went on to create an empire. But her life from 1941 to 1954 has long been shrouded in rumor and mystery, never clarified by Chanel or her many biographers. Hal Vaughan exposes the truth of her wartime collaboration and her long affair with the playboy Baron Hans Günther von Dincklage—who ran a spy ring and reported directly to Goebbels. Vaughan pieces together how Chanel became a Nazi agent, how she escaped arrest after the war and joined her lover in exile in Switzerland, and how—despite suspicions about her past—she was able to return to Paris at age seventy and rebuild the iconic House of Chanel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This has to be one of the most poorly organized books I've ever read. It reminds me of too many student research papers I have read where it's obvious the writer did a lot of research, was reluctant to leave anything out, and had no idea how to organize the material into a coherent document.
On the positive side: I learned a lot about this flawed, but fascinating woman.
On the negative side: the writing was so flawed I didn't even finish the last chapter.
The book is very enlightening, the story of Coco Chanel's life is set against the historical period leading up to World War II and the German Occupation of France, and in particular Paris. Her story is quite amazing, growing up in a very humble family, living in a convent as a child and her many liasons with wealthy and powerful men. It is a very well written biography, insightful and mysterious at the same time. There are questions about her life that remain unanswered to this day, for example her relationship with Winston Churchill, and his role in protecting her after the war and her role in German espionage. The book exposes aspects of the German Occupation of France and Paris that are revealed as a result of the focus on one French woman, the successful and controversial, Coco Chanel.
Very carefully researched, interestingly written, a tale of self-absorption and extreme egocentric behavior. Chanel's "association" with Nazis was inserted tastefully in Susanna Moore's Life of Objects -- which is what tempted me to finally take on this side of WWII -- This book will shock even the most stalwart history buff -- and hopefully stunt sales of Chanel products even though the perfume part belongs to someone else. Let's dismantle this fashion diva?
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