Sleeping With the Enemy: Coco Chanel, Nazi Agent

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Random House, Aug 31, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 304 pages

Coco Chanel, high priestess of couture, created the look of the chic modern woman: her simple and elegant designs freed women from their corsets and inspired them to crop their hair. By the 1920s, Chanel employed more than two thousand people in her workrooms, and had amassed a personal fortune. But at the start of the Second World War, Chanel closed down her couture house and went to live quietly at the Ritz, moving to Switzerland after the war. For more than half a century, Chanel's life from 1941 to 1954 has been shrouded in rumour. Neither Chanel nor her biographers have told the full story, until now.

In this explosive narrative Hal Vaughan pieces together Chanel's hidden years, from the Nazi occupation of Paris to the aftermath of the Liberation. He uncovers the truth of Chanel's anti-Semitism and long-whispered collaboration with Hitler's officials. In particular, Chanel's long relationship with 'Spatz', Baron von Dincklage, previously described as a tennis-playing playboy and German diplomat, and finally exposed here as a Nazi master spy and agent who ran an intelligence ring in the Mediterranean and reported directly to Joseph Goebbels.

Sleeping with the Enemy tells in detail how Chanel became a German intelligence operative, Abwehr agent F-7124; how she was enlisted in spy missions, and why she evaded arrest in France after the war. It reveals the role played by Winston Churchill in her escape from retribution; and how, after a nine-year exile in Switzerland with Dincklage, and despite French investigations into her espionage activities, Coco was able to return to Paris and triumphantly reinvent herself - and rebuild the House of Chanel.

As Hal Vaughan shows, far from being a heroine of France, Chanel was in fact one of its most surprising traitors.

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so does that mean that she was working with the Nazis?

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In tribute to the memory of Hal Vaughan, I would like to say how much I enjoyed working on this book. He only wanted to reveal the truth. Sally Gordon Mark

About the author (2011)

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1928, Hal Vaughan has been a news reporter, foreign correspondent and documentary film producer working in Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia since 1957. He served in the US military during the Second World War and Korea and was involved in CIA operations as a US Foreign Service officer. Vaughan is the author of Doctor to the Resistance, the story of an American surgeon and his family in occupied Paris, and FDR's Twelve Apostles: the spies who paved the way for the invasion of North Africa. He has spent years piecing together the Chanel story and its cover-up for Sleeping with the Enemy, combing through wartime intelligence archives - public and private, and many newly released - as well as letters and police and court documents in America and Europe. He lives in Paris.