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Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History Hardcover – 20 Aug 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Preface Publishing; 1st Edition edition (20 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184809101X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848091016
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.4 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 398,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"After World War Two I served as a British member of the 'Monuments' section in Germany. Our task, I believe, was truly important - we were restoring to Europe evidence of its own civilization, which the War seemed virtually to have destroyed - and I was lucky to have had a chance to participate. It is excellent that Mr Edsel has now recorded this remarkable episode, and I am grateful to him for devoting so much energy to telling the stories of those involved." (Anne Olivier Bell)

"Highly Readable ... a remarkable history" (Washington Post)

"Engaging and inspiring" (Publishers Weekly)

Book Description

Now a major film starring GEORGE CLOONEY, MATT DAMON, CATE BLANCHETT, BILL MURRAY, JOHN GOODMAN, HUGH BONNEVILLE, BOB BALABAN, JEAN DUJARDIN and DIMITRI LEONIDAS.

What if I told you that there was an epic story about World War II that has not been told, involving the most unlikely group of heroes?


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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Michael Parsons (Cardiff, UK) on 23 Feb 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a story that demands a major audience. Hitler's war placed in jeopardy much of the world's greatest artwork, and this tells the story of what happened to parts of that art and how efforts were made by the Allies to avoid damaging it and to reclaim stolen art for its true owners.

If it were for the subject matter alone, this book would get five stars. Unluckily the story has been told from an almost exclusively American perspective, as if auditioning for a Hollywood screenplay. Americans' actions are described in an irritatingly folksy way, including many comments from their papers showing their national bigotry (e.g. saying that Roosevelt stood almost alone against the Nazis), while their British colleagues are almost ignored. This may be down to the facts that the author is American and that his admittedly extensive research relies heavily on Americans' memoirs. Perhaps equivalent British sources don't exist?

Read it for the incredible events contained within and for the passion for art that the author convincingly conveys to the reader, but forgive the style and remember that the Americans weren't the only people involved.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By David J Verey on 10 Jan 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fascinating story badly told.
Meandering across a vast array of information, moments of real excitement exploded by deathly prose compounded by repetition and imputed thought and speech. An important record but a bad historical novel!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By justa bloke on 30 Dec 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story of the brave and dedicated people striving to preserve Art is amazing. Unfortunately it is poorly written , has a disjointed story line, and is far too long.

I wanted to follow the stories of all the monument people as they had taken on such an important job, with few resources, but I found I was distracted by the lack of cohesion and storytelling skills.

The book is worth reading as the events undertaken are impressive, but be prepared to be tolerant of the author's poor skill.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jim__Leeder on 7 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this because I'd heard some of the complaints about the movie, especially the mis-representation of the British involvement and people involved. This is the book on which the film was (very loosely) based and having read this I can see why some people are upset about the shameful way some real people are portrayed on screen. I can see why the long and complex story of the real teams had to be compressed and made more exciting for a movie, but the producers should have presented it as complete fiction with fictional characters, instead they pretended that this gives a realistic portrayal. Although this does get a little bit dry and dull in places (which I tended to skip-read) it is well written and gives a very different account of the events and personalities involved. If you wonder how so much of European art and architecture survived the Second World War, this is well worth reading.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By bookwise on 27 Dec 2010
Format: Paperback
A really good story which deserves to be well writen. Sadly this is not the case....Edsel's style (if that is what it is) is to put together...not in chronolgical order...a disjointed account of these US soldiers at the end of WW2.The English is truly appalling, with badly constructed sentences, which are often repeated in different chapters of the book.Chapters are often only a few paragraphs long.I really objected to the, probably fabricated, innermost thoughts of this group of men....why is it necessary to include such speculation?
A missed oppurtunity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Denis Vukosav TOP 50 REVIEWER on 4 May 2014
Format: Paperback
"The Monuments Men" by Robert M. Edsel is story about the Monuments Men, less-known people that risked their lives near or behind lines of Nazi Germany to prevent from destruction many precious works of art.
Due to those brave American and British museum directors, curators and art historians numerous culturally important objects and things were preserved and this book tells their story from the perspective of six of those brave men.

The events portrayed in book are happening last year of the WW II when Monuments Man followed advancing Allied forces from the West, after the D-day and invasion to Italy took place, while they try desperately and with minimum support, sometime even without understanding, to perform their valuable job.

There are many interesting individual cases that were mentioned in the book, like painstakingly following the trail of the art pieces that were stolen from the Louvre while the Nazi regime was in charge, or supervising extraction of stolen paintings and other artwork from the salt mines where they were stored by Nazis.
Through the book a motive of "love of art" will be mentioned many times, a syntagm that was used by Nazis as an explanation why so many art pieces were stolen from the museums and other places.

It was great to read how art can unite people, even from the opposing sides in WW II like in the case with one German expert in art who helped the French Louvre manager to reduce the consequences of the museum looting to the minimum possible.
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