Customer Reviews for

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

69 out of 70 people found this review helpful.

An Amazing Journey of Historical Proportions

This is probably one of the best kept secrets of WW II, until now. The brave men and women, many directly from the world of the arts, who put their lives on the line to save the art of the world from the Nazi's.

Written from interviews of surving members, journals ...
This is probably one of the best kept secrets of WW II, until now. The brave men and women, many directly from the world of the arts, who put their lives on the line to save the art of the world from the Nazi's.

Written from interviews of surving members, journals and a great deal of deep and thorough reasearch, this book puts you in the Jeep right with the solidiers searching for the great artworks of the world pilfered by the Nazis.

Extermely well-written and extremely well-paced for a history book, it's a journey that will educate the reader as well as entertain them as they route on the good guys as the race against time, military ignorance and of course, WWII, to make their mission a successful one. It is a book that is hard to put down. Quite impressive in my mind for a history book.

If you are a fan of history, particularly WWII, this is a must read. It's a part of the story that never got out until way after the war. And to honor those who gave so much, reading this book is the least we can do for these patriots.

posted by Robdesign on September 10, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Highly Recommended - If you are a History Buff & an Art Lover

Only 60 pages into this book, and am thoroughly bored. This is not the movie. This is a history book, written with minute detail of the lives and events of the people who saved untold art and treasures during WWII. Do not buy this book if you are looking for action p...
Only 60 pages into this book, and am thoroughly bored. This is not the movie. This is a history book, written with minute detail of the lives and events of the people who saved untold art and treasures during WWII. Do not buy this book if you are looking for action packed adventure. It hasn't developed as of yet. I will continue reading it only because I am interested in the history side of it.

posted by 1224983 on June 27, 2014

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  • Posted September 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An Amazing Journey of Historical Proportions

    This is probably one of the best kept secrets of WW II, until now. The brave men and women, many directly from the world of the arts, who put their lives on the line to save the art of the world from the Nazi's.

    Written from interviews of surving members, journals and a great deal of deep and thorough reasearch, this book puts you in the Jeep right with the solidiers searching for the great artworks of the world pilfered by the Nazis.

    Extermely well-written and extremely well-paced for a history book, it's a journey that will educate the reader as well as entertain them as they route on the good guys as the race against time, military ignorance and of course, WWII, to make their mission a successful one. It is a book that is hard to put down. Quite impressive in my mind for a history book.

    If you are a fan of history, particularly WWII, this is a must read. It's a part of the story that never got out until way after the war. And to honor those who gave so much, reading this book is the least we can do for these patriots.

    69 out of 70 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 5, 2009

    Forgotten saviors of the art world

    It's amazing that the US armed forces with the prompting of US artists, curators, architects and restorers saved an unimaginable # of Europe's great paintings, architecture, books, municipal documents etc with an amazingly small number of people.

    The character development reads like a novel. Edsel's writing creates an environment where we warm up to even the most stoic of character's such as Rose Valland, female Jeu De Paume spy.

    Many anecdotes to keep the book interesting.

    If you didn't already have a deep loathing for Nazi commanders for their inhumanity to Jews and their own populace, you will after you read about the greed Goring, Hitler and others demonstrated in their art grab in France, Belgium, Germany etc.

    And to think, these men were never recognized by Congress in 2007 until only a handful were still living. To this day most Americans have no idea of Eisenhower's art philosophy and edict to save monuments and the dedicated, knowledgable men who carried out these tedious, dangerous feats. Kudos!

    30 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2009

    A WWII story with broad appeal

    This is a great book. I wondered if it would capture my attention because I am not normally an avid reader of WWII books. However, there is a lot more to this story that will appeal to a broad audience, especially women. The author included excerpts of letters that the Monuments Men wrote their wives and families...they are beautiful and sometimes heart wrenching. This story provides an entirely new way to look at WWII as it explores the Nazis' obsession with and theft of art from across Europe, and almost more interestingly, the Monuments Men's efforts to locate it. As the title suggests, the book focuses on the Monuments Men themselves, and is a "people" story, not a broad exploration of the entire subject of Nazi looting and art repatriation.

    21 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 18, 2010

    A Debt We Owe, Possibly Forever

    There is a number of books on this subject, but I haven't read them. I read "Monuments Men" because it was offered for Nook. Having visited many museums, both in the US and abroad, I was emotionally overwhelmed at the heroics that made it possible for me to enjoy "in the flesh" many of the most important artworks in the world. (Some of these works remain unreturned to this day to their owners, but that is beyond the chronological scope of this book.) More important than my own emotion, however, is that the confiscation of the artworks and manuscripts stolen by Hitler's goons made it possible for these works to be returned to their original owners (or heirs, in many cases) and to the countries whose cultural well-being was and is wrapped up in these icons.
    I could hardly put this book down but still, nearly gave it 4 stars because the writing isn't superior, but I noticed that I gave it 5 stars in almost all other categories. (Don't get me wrong, the writing isn't bad, and it is based on extensive research which probably made for an enormous amount of juggling to fit the facts chronologically.) At any rate, you'll be glad you read it, especially if you value transcendent art, not to mention a momentous amount of justice.
    By the way, while reading this, I noticed similarities to "The Train," one of my favorite movies as a youth. Turns out, the movie was based on many of the true facts but, of course, Hollywoodized. The true story in "Monuments Men" was as thrilling as "The Train." (See the movie too, knowing it's not quite factual.)

    15 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Fascinating Read

    I had heard occasional references to Nazi looting of art, but the true extent of their crimes was not a subject I had previously explored. This account was a well-written, well-documented exploration of the subject. I went into the book expecting a dry story and wound up finding a book that held my attention from beginning to end. Mr. Edsel has done an admirable job of taking extensive research and using it to create a suspense-filled story of some of the unsung heroes of World War II. Bravo!! I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in art history, World War II, mystery and suspense, or a well-told story.

    14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2014

    Fascinating!   Having watched trailers for several weeks, I knew

    Fascinating!   Having watched trailers for several weeks, I knew I wanted to see the movie.  But I decided to first read the book, and I am so glad I did.  Mr. Edsel is a wonderful writer and the men (and one woman!) leap from the pages as they rush to save the treasures of Europe.  Though reading history can be somewhat challenging at times, this is not at all tedious.  It is a fascinating mix of art, WWII and reads much like a mystery novel where you are frantically following your characters and the intrigue that surrounds them.  Though the movie has not received great reviews, the book should be a must read for anyone interested in any of the themes presented.  I would also mention that I went on-line at the end of each chapter to search for photos of the art and architecture mentioned which made the search that more significant as I continued to read.  I loved this book!

    13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    This is a fascinating story of a little-known part of World War II. It is absolutely amazing how much of our art culture which was stolen by the Nazis was saved and returned to the original owners. An amazing testimony to the valiant effort of a special group of army men and women

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2014

    History Buffs, take notice!

    Loved the book! It was all the better due to a recent trip I made to Normandy. So many of the places mentioned were known by me. If you like history and all things WWII, you will love this book!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    Amazing book! It was a little hard for me to get into at first,

    Amazing book! It was a little hard for me to get into at first, but as soon as I did, I was hooked! Just make sure to read over the 'cast' of characters before you start reading, they will be easier to keep track of that way. As someone who loves art and history I found this book to be fascinating. There are so many interesting stories and facts that are not necessarily very well known. These men were truly real life heroes, and I soon became invested in all of them. Read this book!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 29, 2013

    The Greatest Unknown Story  World War II  The story starts out s

    The Greatest Unknown Story  World War II 
    The story starts out slowly as a team of soldiers with backgrounds from the art world is assembled.  But the action picks up as the U.S. Army advances into Germany. These Monuments Men race to retrieve stolen art works.  The Germans have stashed  away all types of items from Western Europe. The Monuments Men helped save some of the great masterpieces of the world. They were not a separate unit, hence they have been forgotten by history. 

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2013

    Recommended Reading For Art Lovers

    This book was an excellent story of "Art" during World War Two and the
    ins and outs of the Nazi's plans to hoard masterpieces. To have a whole
    book devoted to the subject answered many questions about what really
    happened and the bravery that men showed when needed. Monuments Men
    was an excellent read!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2011

    Highly recommended - for just the bare acts alone!

    The writing in this book is a bit prosaic. However, the story (which is true) is quite extraordinary. For all of the WW II knowledge I have had, and for all of the documentaries and specials on the war that I have seen, I never knew how so much of the priceless art and documents from Europe managed to make it through relatively unscathed. Having been to Europe, I had wondered, but no one could tell me. For that reason, this book was incredibly interesting. Additionally, it told of information about the war outside of the work of those striving to preserve the ancient and important artifacts that I had never known. This book also brings home the excellent point that it wasn't just lives that the Nazi's took. It was a way of life - and that was why what these men and women did was so important.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Treasure worth the hunt!

    The Monuments Men brings to life the untold story of the heroes who risked everything to save the treasures stolen by Hitler and the Nazis. The world owes much to them for their selfless acts. In one word, this story is remarkable and every school library, military base, and political leader should own a copy as a reminder of the legacy of the Monuments Men and of the importance of protecting culture in times of conflict.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2010

    Who knew?

    My thanks to the authors of this book. I guess everyone is aware on some level of the pilfering of art and art objects during WWII but many (including myself) are not aware of the extreme measures that were taken to hide and hoard these. No thought or care was given to preservation and indeed thousands of paintings were simply burned! As a lover of the arts it grieves me that this happened and happened again in Iraq. Nevertheless. I am glad to have the opportunity to learn about the Monuments Men. Bravo!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    Art, History, Thieves and Unsung Heroes

    If you love History and great works of art then this book is for you. The authors through exhaustive research bring to light the true story of one woman and several men who saved Europe's art from Nazi plunder.

    The story begins prior to World War II and recounts the efforts of how an unlikely group of art lovers from two continents became unsung heroes; with no authority and virtually no equipment they saved our European heritage.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2014

    Highly Recommended - If you are a History Buff & an Art Lover

    Only 60 pages into this book, and am thoroughly bored. This is not the movie. This is a history book, written with minute detail of the lives and events of the people who saved untold art and treasures during WWII. Do not buy this book if you are looking for action packed adventure. It hasn't developed as of yet. I will continue reading it only because I am interested in the history side of it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 14, 2014

    highly recommend!

    true story of a mostly forgotten part of world war II.love the story, love the documentation and love the character backgrounds. these men and women are true heroes.thanks for telling their stories.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2013

    Great book

    Great read. The greed of the nazis and the scole of the looting is beyond anything you can imagine.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2013

    Very Interesting Read

    I enjoyed this book - it took a snap shot in time. These men were heroes and recognition for the world treasures they saved is long overdue. I could not put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2013

    Highly recommended for WW2 history fans

    Tremendous book documenting the efforts of the the Monuments Men's saving of great works after Hitler looted Europe. Amazing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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