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Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen… (2010)

by Robert K. Wittman, John Shiffman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5522330,655 (3.56)22
Robert K. Wittman, the founder of the FBI's Art Crime Team, pulls back the curtain on his remarkable career, offering a real-life international thriller. The son of an antique dealer, Wittman built a twenty-year career going undercover, usually unarmed, to catch art thieves, scammers, and black market traders in Paris and Philadelphia, Rio and Santa Fe, Miami and Madrid. Wittman tells the stories behind his recoveries of priceless art and antiquities: the golden armor of an ancient Peruvian warrior king; the Rodin sculpture that inspired the Impressionist movement; the rare Civil War battle flag carried into battle by one of the nation's first African-American regiments. The art thieves and scammers he caught run the gamut from rich to poor, smart to foolish, organized criminals to desperate loners. Wittman has saved hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art and antiquities, but he considers them all equally priceless.--From publisher description.… (more)
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» See also 22 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this book. I like detective stories (FBI agents count, too) and I love art and museums, so it was an obvious choice. It crosses genre lines: true crime memoir of undercover agent tracking down stolen artworks.

What makes this book rise above ordinary is the author’s honesty – self-deprecating, questioning, and revealing about the lack of coordination / infighting among his various bosses. His co-writer helps craft a structure to the episodic stories bookended by investigation into a famous art heist (the Gardner) and, together, they present a good guy doing good work.

Priceless is a pretty quick read, but not ‘empty calories’ as it brings in art history, colorful characters, family – and the cases, successful and otherwise. ( )
  MLHart | May 22, 2020 |
Priceless (2011) Wittman, Robert
  HanJie | Dec 11, 2019 |
I loved this book, and the narrator was great (audiobook). I highly recommend it for anyone who likes true crime and perhaps those who like whodunnits (I'm in the true crime camp). This is the story of how Mr. Whittman became a top agent in the art theft area, and also of some of the true stories of how some artworks were finally retrieved thru undercover work. It was interesting, with just enough edge-of-seat theatrics, to read like a thriller novel. ( )
  marshapetry | Sep 30, 2015 |
In Priceless, Robert K. Wittman, the founder of the FBI’s Art Crime Team, pulls back the curtain on his remarkable career for the first time, offering a real-life international thriller to rival The Thomas Crown Affair.

Rising from humble roots as the son of an antique dealer, Wittman built a twenty-year career that was nothing short of extraordinary. He went undercover, usually unarmed, to catch art thieves, scammers, and black market traders in Paris and Philadelphia, Rio and Santa Fe, Miami and Madrid.

In this page-turning memoir, Wittman fascinates with the stories behind his recoveries of priceless art and antiquities: The golden armor of an ancient Peruvian warrior king. The Rodin sculpture that inspired the Impressionist movement. The headdress Geronimo wore at his final Pow-Wow. The rare Civil War battle flag carried into battle by one of the nation’s first African-American regiments. ( )
  cjordan916 | Oct 23, 2014 |
An interesting and insightful account of a Philadelphia-based FBI agent, who advocated and built a team to investigate art theft. Not shy about FBI behind-the-scenes workings, nor personal experiences, the book shows the risk an agent must take in an undercover investigation. The ever-present threat of his cover being blown remains palpable throughout. ( )
  PaperDollLady | Oct 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
This behind-the-scenes look at the immense skill and knowledge required to execute such an operation makes his stories even more gripping.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wittman, Robert K.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shiffman, Johnmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Deakins, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Donna, my wife, and our three children, Kevin, Jeffrey, and Kristin
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The platinum Rolls-Royce with bulletproof windows glided east onto the Palmetto Expressway toward Miami Beach, six stolen paintings stashed in its armor-plated trunk.
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