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The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi…

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure… (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Robert M. Edsel (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,995775,367 (3.9)159
"The previously untold story of a little-known WWII Allied division whose mission was to track down European art and treasures that had been looted by the Nazis at Hitler's command"--Provided by the publisher.
Title:The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History
Authors:Robert M. Edsel (Author)
Info:Center Street (2009), 496 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Read in 2020, History

Work details

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel (2009)

  1. 00
    Guardians of the Louvre by Jirô Taniguchi (villemezbrown)
  2. 00
    The Struggle for Europe by Chester Wilmot (charlie68)
    charlie68: Good general historical background for the book.
  3. 00
    Citizen Soldiers: The U. S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany by Stephen E. Ambrose (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: Both books cover events in Western Europe during the same time frame in World War II.

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» See also 159 mentions

English (76)  French (1)  All languages (77)
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
Good story. Would have been a much better book if it had had the attention of a strong-minded editor. Also a shorter one.
  sonofcarc | Dec 17, 2019 |
Unusually for me and this genre of book, we had a love hate relationship. I have previously read other works on this topic and found them to be engrossing and insisting I keep reading them until the end to discover the next piece in the puzzle; this particular one did not have that hook that pulled me all the way in, and is one of the reasons for the three thumbs review.

The story told within the pages of this book is that of a little known group who can be credited with our being able to view works by some of the greatest Artists in the world that, without their existence may have been lost for all time. Their story is an interesting and important one as it follows them from the inception of the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives to the end of the war. It documents in great detail the hardships they encountered, and the stonewalling or disinterest shown in their mission by others they met whilst often working on the edge of the battle lines; they actually lost two of their unit through combat related deaths. Despite this, they regrouped and continued on with the mission at hand, hunting out information and pouring over myriads of records, which in the case of the Paris cultural treasures had been scrupulously kept by a Frenchwoman Rose Valland. But again, despite this being a fascinating story it was also a frustrating story.

Despite being forewarned in the Author’s Note that some liberties were taken in the creation of the dialogue to help with the continuity of the book, it came across at time that he had taken too many liberties which tended to give this historical account the feel that it was being pulled kicking and screaming into the realms of historical fiction; not a place I wanted to be taken when reading this, as there a several great fiction works on this topic out there I have already read. This created dialogue also took up far too much of the book, and I feel a greater impact would have been achieved if they had been pared down somewhat by a skilled editor, putting the focus firmly back on the purpose and discoveries of the MFAA. The saving grace in this book, for me, were all the hidden nuggets of information that were buried deeply underneath the unnecessary ‘chatter’. When taken from a purely historical point of view, this book is well researched and very educational and, combined with pictures taken from the actual time and events mentioned it could have been something truly exceptional.

Anyone interested in this era in history may enjoy this book; if they can get past the obvious attempts in include a fictional aspect to events.

Originally reviewed on: http://catesbooknuthut.com/2014/06/23/review-the-monuments-men-allied-heroes-naz...

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
( )
  TheAcorn | Nov 8, 2019 |
A recounting of the men and women who risked their lives behind enemy lines to protect the art and history treasures of Europe during WWII.
The first I had ever heard of the Monuments men was the announcement of the movie based on this book which I found quite surprising considering the scope of their operation and the fame and notoriety of many of the pieces of art they rescued. I did not see the movie but I’m very glad I read the book.
I love history and I love art, so the topic of this book was perfect for me and I learned a lot of things I did not know before, so I appreciated all the details included though I can see how for some that could be a detriment. There are times when this book is very detail dense and it does slow the reading pace down, but I found it worthwhile for all that I learned.
Definitely for fans of art history and a wonderful example of what we can accomplish even in the darkest times. ( )
  Kellswitch | Oct 16, 2019 |
A good non-fiction read. Chock full of facts and interesting tid-bits that you didn't know had taken place. I enjoyed it. ( )
  EBassett | Mar 20, 2019 |
On one hand this book was a fast-paced, enjoyable read about an under-appreciated aspect of WWII art history. On the other, I had more than a few questions about this book as a work of history - the author admits to adding conversation of his own invention and throughout the book, he adds plenty of narrative elements, without the kind of sourcing and footnoting that would make me comfortable with the accuracy of these kinds of flourishes. Admittedly, this is a work targeted at a popular audience, not an academic one, but there are better ways of doing narrative history that don't depart from known facts. Overall, this was an interesting read and written like a fast-paced thriller, and it left me with an urge to do a little research of my own on the Monuments Men. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Jan 1, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
The hunters' exploits make a fascinating read. Edsel carefully and colorfully backgrounds "The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History" with vivid accounts of the war's progress. But statements that recall films "based on a true story" may put some readers off. An author's note says he created dialogue for continuity but not on substance, and always with documentation.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert M. Edselprimary authorall editionscalculated
Witter, Bretsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Whatever these paintings may have been to men who looked at them a generation back - today they are not only works of art. Today they are the symbols of the human spirit, and of the world the freedom of the human spirit made. . . . To accept this work today is to assert the purpose of the people of America that the freedom of the human spirit and human mind which has produced the world's great art and all its science - shall not be utterly destroyed.- President Franklin D. Roosevelt, dedication ceremony of the National Gallery of Art, March 17, 1941
It used to be called plundering. But today things have become more humane. In spite of that, I intend to plunder, and to do it thoroughly. - Reichsmarschall Hermann Goring, speaking to a conference of Reich Commissioners for the Occupied Territories and the Military Commanders, Berlin, August 6, 1942
To my mother Norma, aunt Marilyn, and son Diego - The memory of my father and uncle, A. Ray Edsel and Ron B. Wright, both veterans - And the Monuments Men and women, whose heroic efforts preserved so much of the beauty we enjoy today
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(Author's Note) Most of us are aware that World War II was the most destructive war in history.
The city of Karlsruhe, in southwestern Germanyk, was founded in 1715 by the Margrave Karl Wilhelm von Baden-Durlach.
AS impossible as it seems, it was the duty of these eight officers to inspect and preserve every important monument the Allied forces encountered between the English Channel and Berlin.
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The "Monuments Men" were a special multinational group of more than 350 men and women serving in the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives (MFAA) section of the U.S. Military Government in Europe near the end of World War II, charged with tracking down, identifying, and recovering the millions of priceless works of art and cultural artifacts stolen by the Nazis. Robert Edsel has conducted painstaking research to make the world aware of the contributions of the Monuments Men and to ensure that these unsung heroes receive the recognition they deserve.

From 1943 to 1951, 350 or so men and women from thirteen Allied nations served in the Monuments, Fine arts and Archives section (MFAA) of the Allied armed forces. This was the most ambitious effort in history to preserve the world's cultural heritage during war. These heroes of civilization were quite simply known as 'Monuments Men'.
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