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Nazi Plunder: Great Treasure Stories of World War II Paperback – 20 Oct 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1st Da Capo Press Ed edition (20 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030681241X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306812415
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 752,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


World War II was the most devastating conflict in human history, but the tragedy did not end on the battlefields. During the war, Germany--and, later, the Allies--plundered Europe's historic treasures. Between 1939 and 1945, German armed forces roamed from Dunkirk to Stalingrad, looting gold, silver, currency, paintings and other works of art, coins, religious artifacts, and millions of books and other documents. The value of these items, many of which were irreplaceable, is estimated in the billions of dollars. The artwork alone, looted under Hitler's direction, exceeded the combined collections of the Metropolitan Museum, the British Museum, and the Louvre. As the war wound to its conclusion in 1945, occupying forces continued the looting. The story of these celebrated works of art and other vanished treasures--and the mystery of where they went--is a remarkable tale of greed, fraud, deceit, and treachery, Kenneth Alford's Nazi Plunder is the latest word on this fascinating subject.

About the Author

Kenneth D. Alford has been researching archival material relating to the World War II lootings for over thirty years. He is a frequent consultant for television productions involving Nazi plunder, and his first book, Spoils of World War II, was the subject of a History Channel documentary. He lives in northern Virginia.

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In 1933, Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jacob la Cour on 17 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book should rather be called 'Plundering the nazis'. On the face of it, it is about the Nazis plundering Europe for art and treasure, but in reality it is about what the American troops did to Germany in the final weeks of the war. Most of the chapters are about US soldiers stealing legitimate property of Germans, such as the Hesse Crown Jewels, German produced war art, a museum full of tin soldiers, and properties of rich German families. A few chapters are also about art collected by the Germans, but still with focus on the acts of the Americans. It is also a bit too detailed, describing meticously what soldier-this-and-that did with the loot and what happened to him after the war. It is as if the author has investigated American sources in detail and reiterate them word for word, so it becomes just a collection of individual stories of theft.

Some chapters of the book are completely unrelated to its actual topic. For example a quite long chapter is about the capture of Herman Göring, and another chapter is about the find and reburial of the remains of Preussian Kings.

The stories are interesting, but the book deos not contain what its cover states.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Actually: American Plunder Of Nazi Plunder. 9 Nov. 2006
By John P. Rooney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Nazi Plunder: Great Treasure Stories Of World War II.

By Kenneth D. Alford. Da Capo Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts 2001.

Although the title of this book is "Nazi Plunder", most of the book is concerned with the American Army plundering all the Nazi loot that they ran across at the end of the war in Europe. As a conquering army and as an agent of the United States government, the American Army had the right and the duty to capture and hold the masses of gold, silver, jewels, painting and books that were scattered around the Third Reich in April/May 1945. But, as the author, Kenneth D. Alford, points out, there were many American soldiers, (officers and enlisted men) who were willing to pocket as much as they could of the captured Nazi loot. Alford tells engaging stories about golden reliquaries that were in Texas for half a century and later returned to the church in Germany and about Adolf Hitler's library which ended up in the Library of Congress in Washington. With the exception of the Russians and the "Amber Room", it seemed that all the looting had been done by Americans. What did the British, Canadian and French soldiers loot?

I found the book to lack continuity. The author announces a subject change by the simple expedient of placing a blank page in the book and then jumping from German War Art to "Fabulous Horses". Further, the book would benefit from more editing. On the same page, page 7, the author uses two different spellings for the town as (1) Frankfort and (2) Frankfurt. He does not tell you if it is Frankfurt Am Main or Frankfurt on Oder, but the context shows the town to be Am Main. On page 72, he calls Heinrich Himmler's home as "Haus Schmeewinkel". I would expect that the proper spelling is "Haus Schneewinkel". On page 123, he writes the "Unties States" instead of the United States.

When I was working on my MA thesis (History), my thesis advisor made me use an old-fashioned brown wooden ruler and go through the text line by line. Spell checker does not cut it. On page 187, the picture does not show a "...shape like a bishop's hat", but rather, a ... "shape like a bishop's mitre". In fact, many of the captions for the different photos just repeat the words found in the associated text.

For the great amount of research, four stars. For the lack of continuity of the story, one star. For the need for a more through editing, one star. Average: two stars.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Nazi Plunder: Great Treasure Stories of World War II 29 Jan. 2007
By Susan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I agree completely with "John's" assessment of the book. I found the numerous grammatical and spelling errors to be quite distracting. One wonders if the author was this sloppy with the writing, did he also make mistakes with the historical facts?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A good read 17 Jan. 2013
By Happy Elizabeth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book. However, there were many typos, which made me wonder how well researched it was. Even taking that into consideration, it's still worth reading for anyone interested in the subject matter.
Five Stars 11 July 2015
By William A Gioiosa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great History!!!
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Saved Treasures 8 Mar. 2014
By Ruth M. Edwards - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am ashamed that the American troops which mainly consisted of OFFICERS, robbed & pillaged as much as the Germans. Shame on them. MUST reading.
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