The Many Lives of Miss K: Toto Koopman - Model, Muse, Spy

The Many Lives of Miss K Toto Koopman Model Muse Spy A life of glamour and tragedy set against the watershed cultural and political movements of twentieth century Europe Toto Koopman is a new addition to the set of iconoclastic women whose bi

  • Title: The Many Lives of Miss K: Toto Koopman - Model, Muse, Spy
  • Author: Jean-Noël Liaut Denise Jacobs
  • ISBN: 9780847841295
  • Page: 452
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A life of glamour and tragedy, set against the watershed cultural and political movements of twentieth century Europe Toto Koopman 1908 1991 is a new addition to the set of iconoclastic women whose biographies intrigue and inspire modern day readers Like her contemporaries Lee Miller or Vita Sackville West, Toto lived with an independent spirit typical of the meA life of glamour and tragedy, set against the watershed cultural and political movements of twentieth century Europe Toto Koopman 1908 1991 is a new addition to the set of iconoclastic women whose biographies intrigue and inspire modern day readers Like her contemporaries Lee Miller or Vita Sackville West, Toto lived with an independent spirit typical of the men of her generation, moving in the worlds of fashion, society, art, and politics with an insouciant ease that would stir both admiration and envy even today Sphinxlike and tantalizing, Toto conducted her life as a game, driven by audacity and style Jean No l Liaut chases his enigmatic subject through the many roles and lives she inhabited, both happy and tragic Though her beauty, charisma, and taste for the extraordinary made her an exuberant fixture of Paris fashion and caf society, her intelligence and steely sense of self drove her toward bigger things, culminating in espionage during WWII, for which she was imprisoned by the Nazis in Ravensbruck After the horrors of the camp, Toto found solace in Erica Brausen, the German art dealer who launched the career of Francis Bacon, and the two women lived out their lives together surrounded by cultural luminaries like Edmonde Charles Roux and Luchino Visconti But even in her later decades, Toto remained impossible for anyone to possess The Many Lives of Miss K explores the allure of a freethinking and courageous woman who, fiercely protective of her independence, was sought after by so many but ultimately known by very few.

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    One thought on “The Many Lives of Miss K: Toto Koopman - Model, Muse, Spy”

    1. Toto Koopman. Quite honestly, someone I'd never heard of before, and I felt like I should have known about her already. (And I'm a bit annoyed with myself that I didn't!)I was utterly staggered by the range of her experiences, her cosmopolitan life… She seemed to have done and experienced more than a dozen people would in the same number of years.For me the most interesting sections of the book were her concentration camp experiences, and how it affected her afterwards. It's a miracle that she [...]

    2. The biography of Toto Koopman, an intriguing woman who lived life to the fullest, is told with contagious enthusiasm by her biographer Jean-Noël Liaut. He takes us to the most vibrant and exciting scenes in 20th century Europe: Paris in the '20s and '30s, the gruesome '40s in Italy and the German camps, London in the '50s and '60s, Sicilian islands where the artistic elite gathers to holiday - the list goes on and on.The same can be said about the heroine of the story, Toto Koopman; successful [...]

    3. I was more interested in her spy days than her post war art world days. Unfortunately, very little is known about her activities during the war. Overall, a frustrating lack of details about much of her life.

    4. In what must have been a herculean undertaking, Liaut manages to provide readers with the essence of Toto Koopman, while presenting that information in a way that we also understand that the subject of this biography was notoriously vague about her past. The child of a Dutch father and a mixed-race Indonesian mother, her early life was spent in Java until she was sent to boarding school in Holland and on to a finishing school in the UK. While the uniquely divided nature of the social classes and [...]

    5. Miss K. stands for legendary icon and more, Catharina “Toto” Koopman. Born in Indonesia in 1908- her father was Dutch and her mother was half Indonesian with Chinese ancestry. And although at the time this was cause for much prejudice and segregation, Toto did not seem affected by this at all. In fact, she became to be the first- and very acclaimed bi-racial celebrity model. Under the tutelage of Coco Chanel, Toto became famous in her own right, spearing ahead to become more than just a glam [...]

    6. I thought that this woman had an amazing life but found the writing of the story to be less than engaging. It picked up a bit past the middle but by then I was already a bit turned off. Shame, because this woman's story is exceedingly rich! It just needed all her stories and life experience to be put into a wider cultural context, whether that be lgbtq history, war and the resistance movement, the art scene. Everything is touched on with simple sentences, but not really explored, leaving one to [...]

    7. So much of this book seems unbelievable, and indeed much is unknown or unprovable (Who involved Toto in spying in Italy. If it was official it seems like it could be investigated. And her Hitchcokian death under such mysterious circumstances with her many friends looking on and unable to do anything to help her is so odd.) But just sticking to the absolute facts, the story amazing, that a biracial, bisexual, independant woman could thrive in high society in the midcentury and live just as she ch [...]

    8. The hype about the first biracial fashion model was not followed by a good book. Maybe something was literally lost in translation from its original Drench. Miss K, Toto Koopman, was a self indulgent prima donna and social climber. She becomes much more sympathetic when arrested and sent to a concentration camp during WWII. But after the war, she is back to her old tricks. The writing is passably entertaining, but the frequent use of unnamed sources detracts from the book's credibility. It's a s [...]

    9. This woman led a fascinating life of polar extremes. high personal sexual freedom denied to her gender and race and then the low of persecution and confinement of being a prisoner during the war. The low stars is due to the telling of the story as I wanted details but felt like her stories were glossed over or told in passive proses. I wanted to know more about how she healed from such trauma and less about her later life dealing with a bratty artist.

    10. This woman was incredible. The only thing keeping this from receiving 5 stars is that the author was unable to secure any private correspondence of the somewhat private Toto Koopman. Still, she was a true rebel and it would have been fascinating to know her.

    11. Interesting woman, but read like a string of anecdotes and a who's who of rich mid-century socialites. There wasn't enough first hand information.

    12. Fascinating character who deserved a better biographer. In the end it came off as an overlong Vanity Fair article and Toto never came alive.

    13. A fast paced story about a remarkable woman's life. An overload of name dropping where most names were completely irrelevant, but still an interesting story.

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