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Thieves of Baghdad by Matthew Bogdanos
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Thieves of Baghdad

by Matthew Bogdanos

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This was an eye-opening overview of the "situation" at the Iraq Museum after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, from an insider's perspective. The detail of the museum's heirarchy, its collections and the looting which occured there was overwhelming and made for a fascinating read.

The only thing keeping this book from scoring higher in my review was the fact that it wasn't JUST about the museum. In hindsite, this book was equal parts nonfiction analysis of the museum, its artifacts and their theft AND biography of Matthew Bodganos, the marine responsible for coordinating the recovery efforts and (apparently) single handedly forcing the entire US Governmental System to recognize his need to do so.

Don't get me wrong, Bogdanos is an incredible individual. If you doubt me, just read this book, and he'll tell you ALL about himself. I almost gave up on the book because after the initial chapter served to lock me in to what promised to be a great treatise on archaeology/art theft/museum (mis)management the book drifted back to the making of the marine. And this guy is no ordinary marine - he's no ordinary mortal. Marine or not, you do not come across many individuals who quote Cicero before knocking down a door. He was obviously the right person for this job - I just wish he didn't spend the ENTIRE book trying to prove that to the reader. Clearly the man is wiser than I (me???), but I don't need to be reminded of it. It got a little too much when he began quoting people I had never even heard of (or, of whom I had never heard).

But, after skimming about 100 pages, I got to the meat of the book - the museum and the looting. And after that, I couldn't put it down. 8:00am presentation? Who cares, I'm up until 2am finishing this book.

Because I'm obsessed with LibraryThing, I consistently think about my review as I read the book, and how many stars it will get. After about page 135, this book climbed from a 1 star (something I almost never give) to the 4 stars it ended up with.

It really is an enlightening read (in many ways) and Bogdanos really does a better job than anyone else probably could have of putting the situation in Baghdad into perspective and trying to un-politicize an event which was spun every direction depending on your view of ... (fill in the blank). ( )
  pbadeer | Dec 2, 2009 |
I picked this book up after a glowing review in the USA Today book section and was not disappointed. Bogdanos would seem to be a hugely patriotic guy, as someone who has spent his entire career in the service of the US government in one form or another. But the book doesn't come across as a flag waiving, pound the drum type of novel, which was refreshing. Instead, it's an insightful look at the seedy underworld of stolen antiquities and into what life was like in Baghdad immediately after troops starting pouring over the border. ( )
1 vote jmcclain19 | Aug 9, 2007 |
Sometimes interesting, sometimes sanctamonous, sometimes dull, sometimes informative, not a bad read. ( )
  norinrad10 | May 9, 2006 |
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Relates the events that led up to the investigation and recovery of stolen artifacts in Baghdad, offering a look at the underbelly of the international art and antiquities market.

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