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

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

75 out of 76 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 2 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 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.)

    16 out of 20 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 December 19, 2009

    Intriguing reading of relatively unknown actions.

    Extremely impressive diligence and action of US Forces to track and save great art works stolen by the Nazis.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2015

    Good read for history buffs.

    I had seen the movie but really enjoyed the book too. Learned things about WWII that I did not know!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2015

    Good Read

    More info than movie. Recommend read with Saving Italy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2014

    Interesting story

    A little draggy, but a good story.

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  • Posted August 17, 2014

    Little Known Piece of History

    This is a well researched piece of WWII history that only becoming well known, probably thanks to the movie of the same name. The book is more disjointed in terms of its timeline-the movie went more or less in a straight line-but the book has more depth and detail. Warning: the main figures in the book are different than in the movie-the screenwriters must have combined characters for cinematic reasons-so don't try to figure out which character George Clooney played in the movie!

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  • Posted July 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I seek out books that tell the stories of what was going on duri

    I seek out books that tell the stories of what was going on during WWI and WWII outside the actual fighting. How did people back home cope, the nurses, etc. After seeing the movie "Monuments Men" I was interested when I found the book by Edsel in my local B&N. No, it's NOT the movie. The movie was made for entertainment. The book shows us the other side of war. I have to admit I never thought about the art, monuments, buildings, and writings that we so much cherish. I've traveled to Belgium and Holland and saw many of the pieces mentioned. It was never mentioned what the Monuments Men and locals went through to local these wonderful pieces and return them so I could enjoy. This book also brings to light something we should all consider and question about fighting and wars. Is it really necessary to destroy the history of a country and people? We all know the horrors Hitler and the Nazis put Europe through--the lives lost in the quest to purify Europe. But we never heard about the destruction of Europe under the Nero directive. Like a spoiled child, if I can't have something, I'll destroy it so you can't either. The more we learn about WWII, the more I am amazed at the people who survived and made sure the rest of us understand the destruction.

    Sorry for rambling, but if you like history and want to learn more about amazing people and events, I strongly recommend this book.

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  • Posted May 28, 2014

    Excellent book. I enjoy reading non-fiction historical books, e

    Excellent book. I enjoy reading non-fiction historical books, especially books concerning WWII. This book opened by eyes to a topic I have not read about nor was I aware of. The beginning of the book is a little boring and hard to get into, but if you make it past the first 100 pages or so, it is hard to put down. I highly recommend this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2014

    I could not stop reading this book. You only read about the mi

    I could not stop reading this book. You only read about the military in battles or generals etc but not about the people who tried to save the art work of Europe.. Well written and a must read for people who are interested in history and art. The next time I go to Europe and visit the museums I will think about those brave men who rescued the art so that we can enjoy it today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    A Lot More Than The Movie

    It really is a history of the Allis campaign in Europe, until the VE Day. Some of the writings is just too much to comprehend. Man's in humanity to Man

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  • Posted March 28, 2014

    Good read

    You don't have to be a fan of the arts to enjoy this story about a little know aspect of a terrible time in history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2014

    A Different Type of Hero

    Excellent book. These men were truly heroes of a different kind as they searched and save so many works of art that represented the history of so many countries. Just imagine our world's loss without these creative, expressive works of so many. Wish more people knew of this feat and the contribution of the Monument men and the governments that supported their endeavors. It was a step back in time and informative history read.

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  • Posted March 14, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Very entertaining

    Well written and very entertaining. I knew nothing about this aspect of the war and how such much cultural heritage was saved from the Nazis. Will probably take in the movie.

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  • Posted March 14, 2014

    Good Read

    Even though I kept confusing people and places, it was still an interesting book. Mind boggling how a war corrupts people's thinking.

    I appreciated the author ending the book with a "where are they now" section.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2014

    A good read for anyone interested in WWII history.

    A good read for anyone interested in WWII history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2014

    The Light Between the Oceans

    Wonderful reading. The characters were real and all were likable. There were many moral questions for a reading group to discuss. The account of life on a post WWI lighthouse was very accurate.
    Everyone in our group would recommend the book.

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