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Hermann Goring and the Nazi Art Collection:…

Hermann Goring and the Nazi Art Collection: The Looting of Europe's… (edition 2012)

by Kenneth D. Alford

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Title:Hermann Goring and the Nazi Art Collection: The Looting of Europe's Art Treasures and Their Dispersal After World War II
Authors:Kenneth D. Alford
Info:Mcfarland (2012), Paperback, 269 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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Hermann Göring and the Nazi Art Collection by Kenneth D. Alford


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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a poorly written work covering an important footnote to history - the theft and return of works of art during war time. While I received this book as part of Early Reviewers, there is nothing to indicate on my copy that this is still a work in progress. It appears to have already been published. That is quite unfortunate because this book is in dire need of an editor. Simple editing errors in writing include using the EXACT same sentence twice in one paragraph, the use of initials representing an organization before the actual introduction of that organization and what those initials mean, and a tendency to repeat the most mundane facts multiple times throughout the book (i.e., when in Chapter 19 we are still being told what the Linz Museum was and its relation to Hitler - after being told multiple times earlier in the book).

All of these faulty mechanics results in a book which is simply difficult to read. I did finish it, because buried within the morass was individual nuggets of interesting details I had not previously known, and the author's use of first hand sources is laudable, but I feel in the end it was not worth my time. There are many other books written about this subject matter, and most of them handle it better than Alford did in this one. ( )
  pbadeer | Nov 18, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
More than 60 years after WWII, documents hidden in the secret U. S. archives are finally making their way to the light of day. Among them are the files from the OSS known as the “Art Looting Investigations.” These files included the interrogations of key Nazi’s as well as German art scholars on the acquisition and disposal of millions of dollars of European art. These interrogations are the basis of Kenneth D. Alord’s small volume Herman Goring and the Nazi Art Collection. By the end of the war, Reichmarschall and art connoisseur Hermann Goring had “acquired” 1,375 paintings and hundreds of sculptures, tapestries and rugs, antique or period furniture, stained glass windows and other objects of art. It is an amazing story. While it could be told a little better and without some of the duplication, Alford does a credible job at identifying who and how the art treasures were collected. Not all art was stolen (as we are sometimes led to believe) – Nazi art collectors, including Goring himself, traveled all over occupied Europe to purchase pieces and whole collections through collaborators and art brokers. In addition to acquiring pieces for the Hitler art museum destined for Linz after the war, Goring acquired a vast amounts of art for his personal collection displayed in his private estate Carinhall. For those that don’t know the difference between a Matisse and Monet as well as those who can discuss the perspectives between Memling’s and Lochner’s Madonna and Child, this is an interesting history. Based on continued finds in our archives, it is probably is not the last word. ( )
  sherman1951 | Aug 15, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I recently read The Monuments Men and was left with a desire to know more about the thousands of works of art that were taken by the Nazis during World War II. Did some of them end up in museums I've visited, and I have seen some of them without knowing their history? Hermann Göring and the Nazi Art Collection addressed some of my questions. Although the works acquired by Göring are the book's primary focus, other looted art works are mentioned in the text. The detailed lists of paintings, sculptures, and other art objects provided in the appendices don't identify the current locations of the listed items, but they do identify Göring's source and the country to which each item was returned following the war.

The quality of the black and white photographs is disappointing. I noticed quite a few grammar errors, as well as spelling errors that wouldn't be caught by a word processor's spell check feature. In a few instances, the same information was presented multiple times in almost identical phrasing. These problems should have been found and corrected during the editorial process.*

This book wouldn't be the best starting point for a study of World War II art looting. Readers with some prior knowledge of the topic will benefit most from this book. The extensive appendices would make the work useful in a reference collection.

*This review is based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. The copy I received appears to be the final, published version of the book. There is no indication that it is an uncorrected proof. ( )
  cbl_tn | Aug 12, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Being only a casual art aficionado, it’s likely that I don’t appreciate this book as fully as others might. That notwithstanding, it is a work of multiple tales, weaving together the world of art at the time of major world upheaval with examples of the proclivities of top Nazi leadership, providing examples of how both were impacted by the shifting fortunes of the Reich. Regrettably, though, the structure is muddled and confusing leaving the reader without any sense of direction.
It’s a book about a niche subject but that doesn't excuse the need for a better direction in organization. The ‘jumping around’ is sometimes akin to getting whiplash but it’s still worth pursuing to the end and for all but the most informed on this subject, it will prove enlightening.
In the final analysis, one is drawn to the conclusion that had the Nazi regime not had Goring, the art world today might have been greatly diminished due to the ravages of war. It would seem too that while many suffered due to their connection to wealth and, more particularly, art treasures, there were many who may have lived while Goring and Hitler spent precious time addressing their respective collections. ( )
  minfo | Aug 1, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was so ready to love this book, but it just didn't happen. The information is more detailed than anything else I've read on the subject. However, the overall organization just wasn't there. If you were looking for a particular dealer or painting, the book will have some description of it.
I would not recommend reading this book as a novel, but maintaining as a reference for specific details. Unfortunately this kind of use will really only appeal to those who are extremely enthusiastic about the subject matter. ( )
  vrwolf | Jul 27, 2012 |
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