Sleeping With the Enemy: Coco Chanel's Secret War (Hardcover)

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ITEM#: 13652559

Hal Vaughan has been a newsman, foreign correspondent, and documentary film producer working in Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia since 1957. He served in the U.S. military in World War II and Korea and has held various posts as a U.S. Foreign Service officer. Vaughan is the author of Doctor to the Resistance: The Heroic True Story of an American Surgeon and His Family in Occupied Paris and FDR’s 12 Apostles: The Spies Who Paved the Way for the Invasion of North Africa. He lives in Paris.
“From this century, in France, three names will remain: de Gaulle, Picasso, and Chanel.” –André Malraux

Coco Chanel created the look of the modern woman and was the high priestess of couture.

She believed in simplicity, and elegance, and freed women from the tyranny of fashion. She inspired women to take off their bone corsets and cut their hair. She used ordinary jersey as couture fabric, elevated the waistline, and created bell-bottom trousers, trench coats, and turtleneck sweaters.

In the 1920s, when Chanel employed more than two thousand people in her workrooms, she had amassed a personal fortune of $15 million and went on to create an empire.

Jean Cocteau once said of Chanel that she had the head of “a little black swan.” And, added Colette, “the heart of a little black bull.”

At the start of World War II, Chanel closed down her couture house and went across the street to live at the Hôtel Ritz. Picasso, her friend, called her “one of the most sensible women in Europe.” She remained at the Ritz for the duration of the war, and after, went on to Switzerland.

For more than half a century, Chanel’s life from 1941 to 1954 has been shrouded in vagueness and rumor, mystery and myth. Neither Chanel nor her many biographers have ever told the full story of these years.

Now Hal Vaughan, in this explosive narrative—part suspense thriller, part wartime portrait—fully pieces together the hidden years of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s life, from the Nazi occupation of Paris to the aftermath of World War II.

Vaughan reveals the truth of Chanel’s long-whispered collaboration with Hitler’s high-ranking officials in occupied Paris from 1940 to 1944. He writes in detail of her decades-long affair with Baron Hans Günther von Dincklage, “Spatz” (“sparrow” in English), described in most Chanel biographies as being an innocuous, English-speaking tennis player, playboy, and harmless dupe—a loyal German soldier and dipl...

Specs

ISBN 9780307592637
Genre BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Artists, Architects, Photographers
Format Hardcover
Pages 279
Publisher Date 2011-08-16 00:00:00.0
Publisher Alfred a Knopf Inc
Copyright Year 2011
Height 10.25 in
Wdth 6.5 in
Thickness 1.25 in
Unit weight 1.3 lb
Language English
Subtitle Coco Chanel's Secret War
Audience General/trade
Authors Vaughan, Hal

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  • Book is well made, disagree with the content

    The author researched a great deal, which is wonderful, but inferred things that ought not to be assumed. He talked about how Chanel was obviously anti-semetic because she was raised in a Catholic orphanage and this was the focus of the Church opinion at that time. I disagree with this inference. She was never overtly Catholic and did a great number of things that went against the Church doctrine of her time. So why infer that she bought into that? She could have bought into a great deal in her time and she steadfastly did not. There was some rumor or speculation that Boy was half Jewish and she likely knew that, but he was the love of her life. One of her business partners was Jewish in the Chanel No. 5 business. I think this retrospective take on her pushes the limits with a lot of inference based on documentation but without merit.

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