Susan Ronald - A Dangerous Woman (San Francisco)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 6:00pm

Born in turn-of-the-century San Francisco to French parents, Florence Lacaze fled the city in the aftermath of the great earthquake of 1906. Living in Paris with her mother, she was taught that only money brought respectability and happiness, and developed a lifelong snobbery to match her aspirations. Marrying first “the boy next door” from the Bay Area to regain her U.S. citizenship, then hooking the already-married Frank Jay Gould (youngest son of notorious robber baron Jay Gould), Florence rewrote her personal history to match her new super-rich pedigree. While enjoying the fruits of an open marriage with Frank, Florence guided his millions into investments in hotels and casinos, creating the first luxury hotel and casino group in France. She was the first to bring the Italian Mafia to the Riviera, and made her name entertaining celebrities such as Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Maurice Chevalier, Joseph Kennedy, and a raft of Hollywood stars, some of whom (like Charlie Chaplin) became her lovers.
While the party ended for most Americans after the Great Crash of 1929, Frank and Florence Gould refused to return to America. (He had abandoned the U.S. in 1913 when federal income taxes were introduced, and the IRS eagerly awaited his return.) During the Nazi occupation of France, Florence took scores of German lovers, traded with the Nazis, and hosted a controversial salon for collaborators and underground Résistants alike. As the Allies closed in on the city, the unscrupulous Florence became embroiled in a money laundering operation for high-ranking Nazis fleeing the country.
Despite the best efforts of J. Edgar Hoover and the French Sûreté, Florence avoided treason charges after the war, and lived as part of France’s upper-crust until her death in 1983. Her vast fortune was put to good use through the Florence Gould Foundation, buying her eternal respectability as a patron of the arts and sciences in New York City and beyond. A Dangerous Woman is a colorful and damning portrait of a woman who could have been a character in the great literary works of Ibsen or Chekhov, and a cautionary lesson that while money can buy happiness, it requires a lack of concern for the repercussions of your actions.

Susan Ronald was born and raised in the United States and has lived in England for more than twenty-five years. She is the author of several books, including Hitler's Art Thief and Heretic Queen.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94941
A Dangerous Woman: American Beauty, Noted Philanthropist, Nazi Collaborator - The Life of Florence Gould Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250092212
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - February 20th, 2018

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.