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The Hotel on Place Vendome: Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris Hardcover – March 11, 2014
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“Stolen art, double agents, a legendary bartender passing notes to the resistance: This is a rich, messy history.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Mazzeo pulls back the heavy curtains of the Ritz in Paris to reveal a steamy world of sex, drugs, partying and political intrigue.” (Alan Riding, author of And The Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris)
“Mazzeo enthrallingly depicts a hotbed of both the magnificent and the mundane. . . . Readers will enjoy Mazzeo’s fascinating collection of secretive, scheming historical characters, all under one elegant roof.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Fiction could not write betrayal, resistance, collaboration, or celebration with more robustness or with a more alluring who’s-who of writers, artists, and military powers than history did in this single hotel. ” (Booklist)
“Tilar J. Mazzeo tells the tale of the Hotel Ritz, a landmark so imbued with glamour that it was the only hotel in Paris the Nazis ordered to stay open during the war. The antics at and around it during World War II were often shocking.” (New York Post)
“Must read. . . . Mazzeo artfully transports readers to the Nazi occupation of World War II . . . The Hôtel on Place Vendôme contextualizes the opulence of 1940s Paris, making for a work of history that reads as enticingly as a novel.” (Harper's Bazaar)
“An illuminating history of the intrigue and drama taking place inside its elegant façade. . . . The narrative reads like fiction, with the difference being accurate testimony from well-researched documents and interviews.” (Bookreporter)
Top Customer Reviews
1. P 20 Serge Diaghilev is described as a " lithe ballet star", in fact he was a portly impressario.
He is also described as frequenting Coco Chanel's table at the Ritz. She is described as living there since the early 1930s. Diaghilev died in 1929!
2. P33 Sacha Guitry is described as a"young playwright" attending Parisian literary salons in 1897, which would make him 12 years old, young indeed.
Such errors seriously put the book's credibility in question
This may seem trivial, but it is an example of the author's complete disinterest in facts. Another is her claim that Ernest Hemingway committed suicide ay his home in Key West. He did not. It was at his home in Ketchum, Idaho..
The author makes statements as though they were facts, when there is not a shred of truth to them. It is beyond pitiful, and a disgrace to literature.
It is sad that anyone would publish such a book., The publisher's proof reader left an unnecessary "t" after the word "only" on page 16. Very sloppy this. I wish I had my money back..
Tilar Mazzeo has found a novel lens on modern European history. Kudos to her. The book's narrative moves like gangbusters. However, the account is rather superficial. There are strong threads running through French politics from Dreyfus through the 1968 student riots in Paris, and Mazzeo doesn't examine these in any detail. She gives us instead a parade of celebrities, eccentrics, and the very interesting who flit by. We don't get to really know any of them. This wouldn't be so bad if the treatment of themes had been deeper. Mazzeo is welcome to her approach, but it doesn't lead to a meaningful history. If you want to know something of the French Resistance and the collaborationists, see Ophul's The Sorrow and the Pity instead.
I will quote one section of a paragraph on pp.16-17 to give a brief sense of how absurd this book is: "While in Paris, the Führer made arrangements to meet one of the hotel's regulars, Serge Diaghilev, the founder of the Ballets Russe, the Russian ballet in Paris, to ask him personally to carry on making art in Paris. After all, that was what German conquerors wanted most: a luxurious modern playground and the ultimate Parisian experience. The disappointed ballet star managed to oversleep and miss the meeting–but he did carry on entertaining the occupiers."
That paragraph is so full of absurdities and errors and bad, gushy writing that I will leave it otherwise uncommented upon. I agree with other commentators. It is dismaying that a book this thoroughly bad, not to say so often wrong factually and throughout stylistically repellent, was published.
The chapter on my father's actions during the Liberation of Paris is full of mistakes and bears no connection whatsoever to the Ritz, except, as the author notes on the basis of nothing, that my father's family "MUST" have known people who resided in or passed through the Ritz!
Not just disappointing but unacceptable.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I just loved it. - recommended to many of my European friends. cheers EdithPublished 25 days ago by john
A five star read full of history and romance. Intrigue, betrayal come to mind in this complex history of the famous Ritz Hotel.Published 2 months ago by lynee
The author, her editor and her publishers scribbled what they heard from fifth-rate gossips who heard it from other fifth-rate gossips who heard it from other fifth-rate gossips. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Thomas O. Davis
Well written. They lived raunchy but well at the Ritz - while others in Paris were starving or being deported to Nazi camps.Published 4 months ago by Texas Anderson
I looooved it!!! Couldn't put it down! I really like the way the author can make feel the time where everything happenedPublished 5 months ago by mariacu