The Hotel on Place Vendôme: Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hôtel Ritz in Paris

Tilar J. Mazzeo. Harper, $25.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-179108-6
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The Paris Hôtel Ritz evokes 20th-century glamour, smoke-filled air, and hard-drinking patrons with names like Picasso, Proust, Hemingway, and Chanel. WWII, however, brought Nazis, adding to the odd mix of Allied spies posing as German officers, members of the Resistance, and ambitious American journalists desperate to score the next scoop. Mazzeo (The Secret of Chanel No. 5) enthrallingly depicts a hotbed of both the magnificent and the mundane, the careless carousing and deep-seated tensions that kept the hotel a primary meeting place for both Allied and Axis agents. While the book doesn’t deal directly in scenes of intrigue between key figures, its colorful vignettes reveal the hotel’s role in the unsuccessful Valkyrie operation and the struggles of Coco Chanel and a one-name French movie star to survive their “horizontal collaborations.” The stories of the hotel staff members who publicly served Hitler’s trusted officials while privately supporting the Resistance reveal particularly heroic undertakings. Readers will enjoy Mazzeo’s fascinating collection of secretive, scheming historical characters, all under one elegant roof. 19 b&w photos. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 11/25/2013
Release date: 03/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-230893-1
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-06-179104-8
MP3 CD - 978-1-4945-6554-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4945-1554-6
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-219923-2
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