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
A DANGEROUS WOMAN
American Beauty, Noted Philanthropist, Nazi Collaborator—The Life of Florence Gould
by Susan Ronald
Saint Martin’s Press, February 2018
Born in turn-of-the-century San Francisco to French parents, Florence moved to Paris, aged 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 refused to go home. During the Occupation, Florence took several German lovers and hosted a controversial salon. As the Allies closed in, the unscrupulous Florence became embroiled in a notorious money laundering operation for fleeing high-ranking Nazis.
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, New York University, and Cornell Medical School, 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.
Previous title, Hitler’s Art Thief, sold to Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Press in China, Labnyom Konyvkiado in Hungary, Vis-aVis in Poland, Zeleny Kocur in the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic and Meteor Press in Romania.
Praise for Susan Ronald:
“Susan Ronald chronicles one man’s extraordinary career of thievery…an exhaustively researched and well written book that has a cautionary tale for all of us.” —Forbes on Hitler’s Art Thief
“Hitler’s Art Thief tells the back story of what may be the most startling art-world bust in modern history.” —USA Today
“[A] riveting portrait of Gurlitt, who detested the Nazis, and stole from them, but did their bidding in the name of ‘saving modern art’.” —The New Yorker