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Rescuing Da Vinci

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  368 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
Tells the story of Monuments Men who during and following World War II, served behind enemy lines and joined frontline military units to ensure the preservation, protection, and restitution of the world's greatest artistic and cultural treasures. This book includes their heroics and exploits in rescuing and safeguarding the world's great artworks.
Hardcover, 302 pages
Published December 1st 2006 by Laurel Publishing, LLC (first published January 1st 2006)
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Mar 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwii, art-history
Having visited many museums in Europe, I always had questions in the back of my mind -- What did they do with the artwork during WWII? How did the Mona Lisa avoid being captured by the Germans? How did large statues that could not be moved avoid being damaged? Well, this book answers these questions. And WOW, does it answer them, with well written text and also with stunning pictures. I HIGHLY recommend it!!!

What was most fascinating about this book was to learn how many objects of art that I ha
David Bales
May 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
An interesting book about the greatest cultural theft and looting in world history done by the Nazis, who stole every painting, sculpture and etching they could get their hands on from 1938 to 1945 throughout most of Europe. Thousands of art objects were looted from museums and private collections by the Germans and shipped back to the Reich to grace the houses of top Nazis, especially Herman Goering, whose country estate had almost 20,000 paintings and statues. Especially hard hit were Poland a ...more
Before writing The Monuments Men, Robert Edsel wrote Rescuing Da Vinci -- a collection of nearly 500 photos and accompanying text. This remarkable volume visually brings to life the assignment that a small group of soldiers undertook. The nearly impossible task of locating, sorting, and returning the millions of pieces of artwork, sculpture, jewelry, religious items, furniture, and books which were looted by the Nazis, took years to accomplish. In some instances, the work is still in process.

Mar 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book captures the legendary efforts of brave, average people who clearly see themselves as citizens of the world in the noblest sense, to protect, preserve, find, and rightfully return great art treasures. All the great elements are in there - really evil villains, truly heroic efforts and ingenuity, dogged detective work, and common courageous people. Strong on visuals (as it should be for a book about great art!), Resucing Da Vinci has great archival photographs illustrating the rescue ef ...more
Mar 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
this is my token coffee table book.
Mandy Stigant
Aug 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: artists and WWII junkies
Shelves: art-criticism
Holy crap on a stick, batman. I ate this book for breakfast and belched with complete satisfaction -- that is, I've been telling everyone I know about it. It's just plain captivating.

It's a WWII story that doesn't get a whole lot of attention in the face of the actual war, the atrocities and other stories of aftermath, but it's well worth gaining the extra layer of that incredible time. Contrary to the title, it's not just about what the Nazis stole. It's also about what they couldn't get their
Nov 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a mostly pictorial book. It's fascinating to learn of the admirable lengths Europe went to protect art during WWII as well as the Allies recovery of art plundered and hoarded by the Nazis. It makes you wonder if Hitler had put as much effort into fighting the war as he did to amassing art and destroying cultural icons the Nazi's might have won. Frightening, to say the least. Looking forward to reading Edsel's new book "The Monuments Men : Allied Heros, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Trea ...more
Michael (Mike)
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sorry to disappoint, but the title has nothing to do with "The DaVinci Code." This book covers the subject of the deliberate art theft committed by the architects of the Third Reich. It is a fascinating story of the men in uniform, mostly American and British, that made the effort to recover cultural relics that were stolen, and also to prevent the destruction of architectural treasures as the Allies advanced into Europe. No education in art history is complete without reading this book. No educ ...more
Jul 11, 2009 rated it really liked it

Splendid coffee table book.
However, Edsel doesn't follow through with more historical information on paintings and members of the MFAA. It had the potential to be a much better account of what happened to our worlds masterpieces during WWII. This book could've been one of it's kind in the history of art, but sadly, it fell short.
I still believe it's a beautifully illustrated book worth reading and owning.
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
the extent of the art thefts by Germany is astounding. Hilter's plan was and remains to this day astounding to the human mind. Thankfully there continues to be help to recover the missing art.

How sad - nothing can replace the artworks destroyed labeled "degenerate"
Apr 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Very interesting book that explores how great works of art were preserved and recovered during WWII. I had no idea of the extreme measure taken by the allied forces to protect the masterpeices of Da Vinci and many great artisits.
Apr 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: art historians, WWII buffs
Shelves: history, nonfiction
This is almost a companion piece to the documentary and book RAPE OF EUROPA; this is really a coffee-table photo book of the people, the places, and artworks. Ideally, I'd love to see this book combined with ROE, as having the visuals to go with the text would have been preferrable for both.
Apr 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone, especially history lovers
Recommended to Laura by: lady in art class (Mimi?)
A great history of the looting of art museums and of personal property throughout Europe and Russia by Hitler and the Nazis during WWII. The extent of the theft or distruction of millions of pieces of priceless artwork is mind boggling! The pictures alone tell an incredible story.
Nov 10, 2007 rated it really liked it
One of several books I've read recently about the rescue of art stolen by the Nazis, this tells more about the US Army unit assigned to the daunting task of identifying and returning the works to their rightful owners.
Nov 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Wonderful photographs. Not too much actual history about the war, except as it relates to art preservation.
Oct 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
A great book explaining what happened to the art work in Europe during World War II. It has a lot of great pictures so you can actually see what paintings you are reading about.
Sep 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
The photographs in and of themselves were mesmerizing. If it is not required reading in every high school across the country - it should be.
Sep 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Very interesting but lesser-known story of WWII. The pictures are the highlight.
Anthony Bracciante
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was written prior to Monuments Men and is primarily a collection of historic photographs documenting the efforts of the Monuments, Fine Arts & Archives men and women in restoring the art of Europe that had been looted by the Germans in World War II. It is a great book and richly compliments Monuments Men and I'm sure Robert Edsel's other book on rescuing the art of Italy which is on my list to read.
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting way to trace Da Vinci's art as it was hidden from Nazi theft. Having visited where Mona Lisa was hidden during WW II, it's always to read the background of a massive operation to save the art of major European museums.
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It has taken a while to finish Rescuing Da Vinci by Robert M Edsel. It is a fantastic book but it contains so much information that one has to read it in sections or it is overwhelming. I cannot imagine the chaos, headaches, and time it took to inventory the caches of wonderful art articles and paintings much less to return it to their rightful owners if possible. The need to do this was the result of the Nazi plundering of art treasures from the countries they conquered. Before they reached a c ...more
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A 2006 art book by the guy who, the next year, co-produced the documentary film The Rape of Europa and then published The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History in 2009. George Clooney delayed the release of The Monuments Men, his film, until February 7.

This book makes a a good photographic companion to The Rape of Europa documentary and The Monuments Men book. Most of the field photos from the '30s and '40s appear in black and white, later photogra
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ww2, 2014, war, europe, art
This was a more accessible and more visual version of the story told in The Monuments Men. Crammed with photos that gave me time to absorb both the art and the back story.

It struck me how nineteenth century paintings were used in the rebuilding of some the buildings bombed. Art restoring architecture.

And here is one of the ironies of history. Hitler and Göring were so obsessed with plundering art, stopping at museums, spending considerable effort tracking down desired pieces, moving the art, th
Elle Kay
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So what do you choose to read after watching the movie 'The Monuments Men', I went with this book and a pretty good choice too. It has in depth information at the start of each chapter, quite a lot of knowledge to take in but made easier because of the many supporting photographs that form the rest of each chapter.

The topic is absolutely fascinating and the text is well-written. My main criticism would be the minor attention given to the fact that some of the art treasures hidden in mines were a
Mrs. Hassig
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oh My! I found this on the shelf of the Holocaust Library and had to take it home and read it! I was overwhelmed by the immensity of the thievery of the Nazis but also by the immensity of the work done by the Monument's Men to save all of the art and culture. I would turn a page and see a piece of art that I loved and I would gasp out loud thinking how thankful I was that it had been found or saved. The photos are amazing especially the ones that show the empty museums after curators and directo ...more
Feb 21, 2008 rated it liked it
I heard about this book from a segment on The Sunday Morning Program on CBS. I knew nothing about this part of WWII history. It was a very interesting read. There was very little writing. Most of the book consisted of photographs. Basically, it's the story of how Hitler and the Nazi's looted art across Europe. It also tells how people tried to hide art from the Nazi's and what people did to protect it. The Allies (mostly Americans) spent the next 5 years trying to return the artifacts to their r ...more
Erik Dewey
May 22, 2010 rated it liked it
A fascinating book photographically documenting the pillaging of Europe during WWII and the recovery efforts.

I found myself forming a greater appreciation for the masterpieces recovered and all the work that went into protecting and recovering them.

There are some amazing photographs in the book and I especially appreciated the full color plates of the paintings next to the WWII black and white photos of them being recovered.

All and all a very visual telling of the potential loss and its preventi
Aug 15, 2007 rated it it was ok
The "holier-than-thou" attitude of the author rankles me a bit. Of course there was plundering! Of course there was looting. While I am absolutely not approving of it, the statement "to the victor go the spoils" is a historical truism.

That said, the photography that is included in this book is excellent. It gives the reader insight into the steps that were taken to protect all the artwork from theft and destruction. It is a testament to the museums and their dedicated employees that much of the
Elizabeth Smith
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating story of Hitler's systematic theft of priceless art during WWII, and the heroic efforts of European museums to hide and protect their national treasures. Recounts the amazing work of the Monuments Men to find, rescue, restore, and return art and treasures to their rightful owners. Besides the engaging narrative, there are a huge number of photographs that will be of interest to anyone interested in WWII history.
Feb 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
a fasinating look at the destruction of Europe and how the art of Europe was shuffled all around Europe. This is the picture book the accompanies Monuments Men, with additional information. Seeing the pictures of famous works stacked willy-nilly and the devestation of Europe, it is a miracle that anything at all was saved. guess the "old masters" are hardier that we give them credit and art restoration must have been a major contributor to their current state.
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The Monuments Men 3 27 Dec 15, 2009 08:10AM  
  • Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists
  • Loot: The Battle over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World
  • Stealing the Mystic Lamb: The True Story of the World's Most Coveted Masterpiece
  • Lost Lives, Lost Art: Jewish Collectors, Nazi Art Theft, and the Quest for Justice
  • Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa
  • The Venus Fixers: The Remarkable Story of the Allied Soldiers Who Saved Italy's Art During World War II
  • The Medici Conspiracy: The Illicit Journey of Looted Antiquities--From Italy's Tomb Raiders to the World's Greatest Museums
  • Vermeer: A View of Delft
  • Caravaggio: Painter of Miracles
  • The Lost Battles: Leonardo, Michelangelo And The Artistic Duel That Sparked The Renaissance
  • False Impressions: The Hunt for Big-Time Art Fakes
  • Old Masters, New World: America's Raid on Europe's Great Pictures
  • Twilight at the World of Tomorrow : Genius, Madness, Murder, and the 1939 World's Fair on the Brink of  War
  • The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy to Steal the World's Greatest Works of Art
  • Rose Valland: Resistance at the Museum
  • Hot Art: Chasing Thieves and Detectives Through the Secret World of Stolen Art
  • Painted Ladies: Women At The Court Of Charles II
  • 1946: The Making of the Modern World
Robert M. Edsel is the best-selling author of Saving Italy, The Monuments Men and Rescuing da Vinci and co-producer of the award-winning documentary film The Rape of Europa. Edsel is also the founder and president of the Monuments Men Foundation, a recipient of the National Humanities Medal, and a trustee at the National WWII Museum. After living in Florence for five years, he now resides in Dalla ...more
More about Robert M. Edsel...