Andrew Brozyna's Reviews > The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History

The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel
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's review
Nov 27, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: wwii
Read in January, 2012

As a veteran of tedious art history classes and a WWII history buff, I was excited to read this book. It details the Allied efforts to track down and reclaim the great art stolen by the Nazis in Europe. The men of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section rode in on the heals of the liberating forces, often arriving while a city was still under enemy fire. They sought out known artworks, protected what was left behind by the retreating Germans (mostly monuments and buildings), and used detective work to track down looted art. The volume of stolen works was truly staggering and the Allied recovery effort no less impressive.

Edsel's book is a very engaging read, but it suffers from an odd quirk. The author invented lines of dialogue for the real-life characters, much like a historical novel. So, if he knew that two men actually met, he would create a discussion to recreate the scene. Sometimes this was mixed with quotes that were known to have been said. Although this approach made the chapters perhaps more enjoyable for the reader, I think it's something best left to fiction.
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