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  • A Tale that Needs to be Told

    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review. First of all, this was a very hard book for me to finish. It is lengthy, at 400 pages, and is chock-full of details. Second, Florence Gould was not a likable person. She was a despicable woman, and I don’t use that word lightly. This biography details how Florence used her wealth and social standing to become a patron of the arts. Her 1983 obituary lists her literary and artistic prizes, but neglected to mention she was also a Nazi collaborator. As Florence liked to say, “money doesn’t care who owns it.” Florence’s parents were French immigrants living in San Francisco. After the 1906 earthquake, Florence, her mother and her sister returned to Paris. Florence was being groomed to marry well, and she did exactly that when she married Frank Gould, an heir to millions made on railways. In addition, Frank’s scheming business practices made him even richer. After their marriage, Frank and Florence partnered together to create an empire of luxury hotels and casinos. The 1929 crash only meant that Florence could pick up real estate, paintings, jewelry, etc. at bargain prices. During the war, Florence had several Nazi lovers and was embroiled in a money-laundering scheme. After the war, women who slept with the enemy had their heads shaved and were paraded through the streets to be humiliated and spit upon. Florence, however, escaped judgment and prosecution for treason, most likely due to her vast fortune and social connections. I found it interesting that she called Joseph Kennedy, who had his son, Teddy, the war correspondent, interview Florence. Teddy’s article indicated that anything Florence may have done was to keep her and her husband out of a concentration camp. See, she was despicable!

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