A Dangerous Woman: American Beauty, Noted Philanthropist, Nazi Collaborator - The Life of Florence Gould

A Dangerous Woman: American Beauty, Noted Philanthropist, Nazi Collaborator - The Life of Florence Gould

by Susan Ronald


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A revealing biography of Florence Gould, fabulously wealthy socialite and patron of the arts, who hid a dark past as a Nazi collaborator in 1940’s Paris.

Born in turn-of-the-century San Francisco to French parents, Florence moved to Paris at the age of eleven. Believing that only money brought respectability and happiness, she became the third wife of Frank Jay Gould, son of the railway millionaire Jay Gould. She guided Frank’s millions into hotels and casinos, creating a luxury hotel and casino empire. She entertained Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, Joseph Kennedy, and many Hollywood stars—like Charlie Chaplin, who became her lover. While the party ended for most Americans after the Crash of 1929, Frank and Florence stayed on, fearing retribution by the IRS. During the Occupation, Florence took several German lovers and hosted a controversial Nazi salon. As the Allies closed in, the unscrupulous Florence became embroiled in a notorious money laundering operation for Hermann Göring’s Aerobank.

Yet after the war, not only did she avoid prosecution, but her vast fortune bought her respectability as a significant contributor to the Metropolitan Museum and New York University, among many others. It also earned her friends like Estée Lauder who obligingly looked the other way. A seductive and utterly amoral woman who loved to say “money doesn’t care who owns it,” Florence’s life proved a strong argument that perhaps money can buy happiness after all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250092212
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/20/2018
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Born and raised in the United States, SUSAN RONALD has lived in England for more than twenty-five years. She is the author of seven books, including A Dangerous Woman, Hitler's Art Thief, Heretic Queen, The Pirate Queen, and Shakespeare’s Daughter.

Table of Contents

Part I The Aspiring Chanteuse

1 San Francisco 3

2 From Fire to Flood and Death 14

3 La Parisienne 27

4 War and the Boy Next Door 37

5 Young Mrs. Heynemann 50

6 Home Again, War, and Folies 58

7 The Man They Call "Franck" 68

Part II The Crazy Years

8 Taming All Those Monsters 87

9 Leaving the Perfumed Air of Bohemia 100

10 Careless People 106

11 An Amusing Intermezzo for Millionaires 118

12 Taking Stock 130

13 The Monégasque Feud Fit for a Prince 140

14 Hollywood Calling 152

15 The Phoenix Rises 159

16 Scandal, America, and Separate Lives 168

17 Dark Horizons 178

Part III Darkness Falls

18 Fifth Columnists and Fellow Travelers 191

19 Fall of France 202

20 Ludwig 213

21 The "Anything Goes" Occupation 219

22 In the Garden of Earthly Delights 230

23 The Occupation, 1942-1943 238

24 Florence the Banker 248

25 Liberation and Treason 261

Part IV Still A Gould

26 No Safe Havens 279

27 Paper Clips and Friends Cast Long Shadows 284

28 A Fortune to Give Away 296

29 Queen of the Riviera 307

Epilogue 315

Author's Note and Acknowledgments 321

Cast of Characters 325

Glossary 337

Notes 339

Selected Bibliography 365

Index 371

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