Alicia'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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Mar 17, 2012

it was amazing

This is an amazing story about a very small group of soldiers - the Monuments Men - who were responsible for preserving Europe's greatest cultural treasures (e.g., museums and cathedrals), and recovering vast amounts of art looted by the Nazis. Although they had backgrounds in museum work, architecture, conservation and preservation, etc., these guys had to go through basic training just like everyone else and were assigned to various military units. With few resources or authority, they carried out their missions with ingenuity and courage. My favorite anecdote:
"General Patton, upon seeing the Roman ruins at Agrigento, remarked to a local expert, 'Seventh Army didn't cause that destruction, did it, sir?'
The man replied, 'No sir, that happened in the last war.'
'What war was that?'
'The Second Punic War.'"

The book is well researched and documented. The author, Robert Edsel, began his work documenting the work of the Monuments Men in the late 1990s when he lived in Italy. He wondered how so many great monuments and works of art could have survived World War II. Edsel also co-produced the award-winning documentary, The Rape of Europa.
The book is co-written with Bret Witter.


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