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Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists
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Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists

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3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  422 ratings  ·  73 reviews
A spellbinding journey into the high-stakes world of art theft

Today, art theft is one of the most profitable criminal enterprises in the world, exceeding $6 billion in losses to galleries and art collectors annually. And the masterpieces of Rembrandt van Rijn are some of the most frequently targeted.
In Stealing Rembrandts, art security expert Anthony M. Amore and award-w
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ebook, 272 pages
Published July 5th 2011 by Palgrave Macmillan Trade
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Jimmy
Mar 23, 2012 Jimmy marked it as partially-read  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: This is NOT a real review because I never finished the book. I LOVE heists, so I thought this would be a good book to read. But I realized my error upon reading the first few chapters.

The author is intent on destroying the myths around heists... but that's the part I love about heists! Their mythical power! He's like "your concept of a heist is probably tainted by hollywood, let me show you how unglamorous and anticlimactic it really is."

The author has all the entirely wrong attitud
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Cynthia
This is such a rich subject that it was disappointing how flat and dull this book was. Yes, yes, I know it was written by a security expert and not a New Yorker writer but ... There is very little compelling history of the artwork itself and the description of the many thefts (Rembrandt works are apparently stolen more than any other works of art, because there are so many of them and because they have such a high value) is laid out in a kind of scattershot way that makes it hard to follow and a ...more
Rick F.
"A spellbinding journey into the high-stakes world of art theft


"Today, art theft is one of the most profitable criminal enterprises in the world, exceeding $6 billion in losses to galleries and art collectors annually. And the masterpieces of Rembrandt van Rijn are some of the most frequently targeted."

A truly thrilling and extremely facinating foray into a much under-appreciated issue- the theft of priceless paintings. Mr. Amore- who certainly knows from what he writes about- has managed to mak
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Jonathan Lopez
In 1997, a gang of criminals escorted Boston Herald Sunday Editor Tom Mashberg to an undisclosed warehouse and showed him an old master oil painting.

Inspecting the painting by flashlight, Mashberg believed it to be Rembrandt’s Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, famously stolen, along with several other priceless pictures, from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. Since Mashberg’s possible sighting, the missing Gardner artworks have gone back underground, and the crime remain
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Marion
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Artguy
I don't know why I have been obsessed with reading about art thefts. Don't get the wrong idea-- I am not planning a major heist! However, I do find it intriguing, a bit like my fascination with being stranded alone on an island.

This book focuses on Rembrandt paintings and etchings that have been stolen over the years. Sprinkled in it are tales from the life of Rembrandt himself, which were some of my favorite portions of the book. Even so, there are some interesting tales of criminals and how th
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Margo Brooks
An entertaining book about the daring and bumbling theft of Rembrandt's works of art from around the world. This book highlights both the vulnerability of great master works, as well as the impossibility of selling such works on the black market. Additionally, the motivation of the criminals, from money, to dissatisfaction with government are quite eye opening. Although the book was cowritten by the current chief of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, home of one of the mo ...more
Roger
After attending an entertaining talk given by the author on the subject matter in the book, my wife and I purchased a copy from Mr. Amore. Having visited the Gardener Museum many times over the years and being a life long admirer of Rembrandt's paintings, this well researched book that chronicles the surprising number of thefts of the master's works, is a great read for any lover of Rembrandt, fine art, and un solved mysteries.
Terri
"The first version of the story you hear is always wrong." Although movies makes stealing art look upper crust, Anthony M. Amore and Tom Mashberg prove time and again that art thievery is generally low class crooks looking to make a buck. They aren't interested in the art, it's just that art museums, unlike a bank, are not secure and therefore make stealing a Rembrandt much easier than stealing a million dollars.

That makes it a double crime because the thieves have so little understanding of the
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Constance
This book is such a disappointment. It should have been a can't-put-down sort of book: it has true crime, exotic locales, master criminals -- and I was bored to tears. I can't quite pin down why. Somehow, the writing was tedious. Read for the information. Don't read it to be enthralled.
Scott
thanks goodreads.com for the free book. Entertaining read! The book dismantles the notion of the debonair art thief and the high tech caper (sorry whitecollar fans!).
Christine
Stealing works of art has been happening since man started expressing himself in forms of art. Surprisingly enough, to me personally, is the fact that Rembrandt’s works are among the most often stolen. This book details some of the most famous of those thefts and notorious art thieves in the past century.

Mr. Amore is a security expert and currently head of security at the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston. Mr. Mashberg is a veteran investigative reporter. Drawing on their vast experience they wr
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Grady
Art and Crime and Intrigue

Anthony M Amore and Tom Mashberg have compiled a history of art theft that is as entertaining as it is astonishing. Amore is the security director for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston - the location where 13 art works including two Rembrandt paintings and an etching caused an uproar in 1990: Mashberg is the investigative reporter and Sunday editor of the Boston Herald. These two gentlemen have as much intelligent information about the psychology and perpetr
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Sarah
I got an advance reader's copy of this at work. While it was an illuminating look at a side of the art world that I was previously unfamiliar with, there were almost TOO many instances of theft examined in the book. Everything got a bit repetitive and started running together. And while the book claimed to be primarily a response to the 1990 Isabella Gardner Museum robbery, which remains unsolved, very little of the book dealt with that specific case.

I did enjoy reading about the two thieves th
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Kristin
I like Rembrandt’s art, but I don’t love it like I do other artists’ work (museums of the world, your Rembrandts are safe from me) but I still thought this would be an interesting book to read.

I didn’t know a lot about Rembrandt’s life or artwork, and while this wasn’t a complete history, I did learn more about the artist and his work, the types of pieces he created, how many pieces he created and their value.

I wish the authors would have included a brief bio of Rembrandt at the beginning of the
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Heather
Dec 26, 2013 Heather rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Art Enthusiasts
I have been a fan of art and art history since taking an art history class in high school. I have enjoyed reading novels based on the life of artists or works that they created, however this is the first book I have read about art heists. Art theft is extremely common, much more so that I had thought – apparently enough art is stolen to warrant an FBI art crime team! Stealing Rembrandts looks at some of the major art heists that have involved at least one work by Rembrandt as one of the victims. ...more
Arianna
Despite some awful editing (I feel like the editor just put the final draft through MS Word, and didn't actually read it!), the book was really enjoyable. I learned A LOT about Rembrandt and his life, which was unexpected, but not very much about the ISG heist, which was unexpected. However, I understand now why the authors chose not to devote much book to the Gardner Museum fiasco, since there really isn't much of a story to tell until (someday!) those lost items are recovered. Otherwise, thoug ...more
Melanie Linn
"Stealing Rembrandts" is an informative book, as one would expect from a tome co-written by a journalist and a museum security expert. While it is a fascinating look into the inner workings of art crime (and into the tragedy of Old Master thefts), it does become a bit repetitive. The most engaging portion of the book is the chapter that debunks the myth of a greedy "Dr. No" character trying to hoard these priceless works for him or herself. After that, it is quite a formulaic rendering of Rembra ...more
Ms.pegasus
Apr 14, 2013 Ms.pegasus rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Rembrandt
The authors caution us that art thefts are not the meticulously planned affairs as depicted in the movies. The typical art thief is a petty low-life more familiar with crowbars and drills than locks and building schematics. Thus, at least one type of reader who might be attracted to this type of book will leave disappointed, despite the alluring title.

Their point is that even the most ignorant thief will probably have heard of Rembrandt, and surmise that such works are valuable. This is as far a
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Karen
This is a fascinating, well-researched and well-written book about art theft. To be able to touch upon even a fraction of art thefts from around the world, it focuses specifically on thefts of works by Rembrandt (or those believed to be by Rembrandt), including thefts that were successful and some that went comically wrong. I had no idea how truly pervasive art theft is and the wide variety of ways it can be carried out, let alone some of the horrible conditions that stolen works of art have bee ...more
Vivian
While I have a passing interest in art history, this book more than fulfilled it, providing well researched background information on the pieces covered in this book. I would say that aspect is a little too well done. Sometimes the background information would drag on bog down the stories of the heists. As a consequence, it did take me a lot longer than I had wished to finish this book.

I do like that there are pictures of the paintings as well as other relevant objects included in the book, beca
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Arlene Hayman
Although the topic of this book was fascinating, I was a bit bored reading it, as the authors briefly told about case after case of art heists in which Rembrandt art works came up stolen and missing. By the end of the book, my attention waned. However, when the authors presented information from interviews with Florian "Al" Monday, I was mesmerized by the profile of a highly intelligent man who chose to use his intellect to steal invaluable art objects. It seemed to be a tragedy that in the end, ...more
Samantha
So I just finished "Stealing Rembrandt's" by Anthony Amore and Tom Mashberg and I really enjoyed it! It's a fascinating read about a few masterpiece thefts with the overall them that there is no "Dr. No" stealing paintings to be hidden away for his own enjoyment but the stories of thieves driven by simple greed, all of which end badly for the thieves. While it can be a bit wordy in parts overall "Stealing Rembrandt's" is a great read. I especially enjoyed reading about the Worcester Art Museum h ...more
Jamie
I was intrigued by this book and its topic, about which I know little. Each chapter covers a different heist of a Rembrandt piece. Overall, it was interesting and I learned a lot about how museums and art insurers operate. It's shocking how little security and insurance is out on these fine pieces--much less than I would have imagined. It's also pretty surprising that most of these art thefts were crudely performed by petty criminals, not sophisticated Mission Impossible or Thomas Crown-esque th ...more
Doriana Bisegna
About halfway through this book, I felt that the authors had failed to capture my attention. While interesting to read about Rembrandt and his stolen works of art, it just became one long winded art heist after another. The authors should have injected more of a human story and a mystery thriller style into their book to give the reader that impetus to keep turning those pages. It was a little too bland for my taste.
Kat
Very interesting subject matter, but the writing style and organization were a little awkward. In particular, the authors had a tendency to write in a way which circled around to the main story, including several tangents. It's not that the tangents weren't interesting, but it felt like they were trying to cram in more information than there was room for, and the book could have benefited from a bit of streamlining. I also got the impression that the book was designed to be readable chapter by c ...more
Steve
Our typical impression of the thefts of great masterpieces comes from spy novels. This book reveals that most thefts are not very glamorous at all and the profit to be gained is almost nil. The sad fact is that it happens all the time and is fairly easy to pull off particularly if you are willing to threaten an unprepared and poorly compensated guard with a gun. Unfortunately, great art is often destroyed in the process and lost to the world. Rembrandt's works are the most stolen because the gre ...more
Greg
Very interesting read. The stories of the hiests were fantastic and represents a lot of effort in research. I wish there were more pictures, or color pictures, of the works of art. That would have been a great addition. I found myself looking up the images on the internet anyway but it would have been more complete if they were included in the book itself.

The bit of advice to readers is to suffer through the clumsy first chapter and the rest of the book is very enjoyable. The first chapter prov
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Mary Rose
Whoo, I think I've had enough of reading about art crime for a while. This book's real savior is the way that Amore effortlessly blends the stories of art heists with bits about Rembrandt's life. Other than that, the stories it reports (the Gardner heist that everyone and their cat knows about, etc.) aren't particularly "untold" at all. That's not to say that the book is bad, if you don't know anything about art heists it may well be a good place to start, but if you've read a bunch of them in a ...more
Cheri
This book makes a better handbook for people researching Rembrandt thefts. Nothing new or insightful but it is always pleasant to visit a good art theft.
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Anthony M. Amore is a columnist with the Boston Herald and the head of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum since 2005, where he is charged with efforts to recover 13 works of art stolen on March 18, 1990. He regularly blogs for The Huffington Post, drawing on his 15 years of national security, law, intelligence and crisis management experience with two federal government agencies, incl ...more
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