Mata Hari, the True Story: The True Story

Russell Warren Howe, Author Dodd Mead $17.95 (292p) ISBN 978-0-396-08717-5
Margaretha Zelle, aka Mata Hari, was executed by the French in 1917 as a German spy. Since she was famous as an exotic dancer, news of the execution shocked Europe and the legend of this unfortunate woman has persisted. Howe, author of The Power Peddlers, etc., argues that she was guilty only of wanting to spy for the French, of hoping to pull off a financial coup and settle down with the man she loved. Her marriage at 18 to Capt. Rudolf MacLeod had taken her to Indonesia and when the marriage broke up and she returned to Europe, she turned to Hindu or Buddhist (she never knew the difference) ""religious'' dancing, which was in essence stripping. This led to life as a demimondaine, and her conquests included a German crown prince and the composer Massenet. Self-dramatizing, self-deceiving, superficial, she was easy prey to the French when a victim was needed. Photos not seen by PW. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1986
Release date: 05/01/1986
Genre: Nonfiction
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