Sleeping With the Enemy
Coco Chanel Nazi Agent
written by Hal Vaughan
Chatto and Windus | ISBN 9780701185015
Paperback – 304 pages
Member’s price: $29.66
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She created the look of the modern woman; she was the high priestess of couture; she inspired women to take off their bone corsets and to cut their hair. She believed in simplicity and elegance and freed women from the tyranny of fashion. She used ordinary jersey as couture fabric; elevated the waistline and created bellbottom trousers, trench coats, turtleneck sweaters, and costume jewelry. In the 1920s when she employed more than 2000 people in her work rooms, she had amassed a personal fortune of $15 million and went on to create an empire. She was autocratic; a volatile woman of fierce ambition and drive; confidante of the rich and famous, friend of royalty and nobility. At the start of the Second World War, she closed down her couture house and went across the street to live at the Ritz. She remained at the Ritz and moved on to Vichy and then Switzerland between 1945 to1954. 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 expose - 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 the war. Vaughan tells the story of Chanel's long-whispered collaboration with Hitler's high-ranking officials. He writes in full of her longtime affair with Baron Hans Gunther 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 diplomat serving his mother country who was not a member of the Nazi party, but revealed here to have been a Nazi master spy and German military intelligence agent in France, member of the military intelligence service in the Abwehr, an institution in service to the German High Command for espionage, counter-intelligence and sabotage from 1921 and that during the war, he was an agent reporting directly to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, right hand of Hitler. The book reveals for the first time how Coco Chanel became a German Intelligence operative; how and why she enlisted in a number of spy missions; how she escaped arrest in France after the war, despite her activities being known to the Gaullist clandestine French intelligence; how she fled to Switzerland for a nine-year exile with her lover Dincklage. And how, despite the French court opening a case concerning Chanel's espionage activities during the war, she was able to return to Paris at seventy and triumphantly resurrect and reinvent herself and rebuild what has become, the iconic House of Chanel.