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on 1 October 2012
I read this book in record time because it was so fascinating and well written. Having read the excellent book, The Rape of Europa by Lynn H Nicholas, which tells the story of the merciless Nazi plunder and theft of art during the 1930s and WW2, I knew about the staggering quantities of art which were looted both from private Jewish and other collections, and from museums. Hitler and Goring were the worst culprits, and with Nazi efficiency train loads and truck loads of art were hidden to await the time of Nazi victory.

This book is the story of the recovery of that art. The Monuments Men were given the huge task of finding these hidden treasures, sometimes in the nick of time before they were destroyed. Few in number, they heroically went into places where sometimes fighting was still going on in order to save treasures.

Another reviewer has already noted that British Monuments Men were hardly mentioned, and another slight shortfall was that the original owners of the art and the methods used by the Nazis to loot it were barely mentioned. However, that is all in Lynn Nicholas' book, which I would say complements this book wonderfully.

I recommend this book wholeheartedly to anyone interested in art, and how it has been saved for us to view today.
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on 15 April 2014
Having heard about this subject due to the release of the film I decided to purchase the book, which is always better than the movie..right?
Wrong.
I have to admit I gave up half way through, I found the authors writing style so annoying. It flitted from one place to another, just when you thought It was getting exciting, he would go off on another tangent and completely ruin any suspense.
A lot of people on here seem to enjoy it, but it wasn't for me.....
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on 18 May 2015
I was apprehensive about reading this book due to a lot of the bad reviews it has received here on Amazon.
If you liked the film (which I did) you will find the book very different and thus I can understand some of the poorer reviews.
Hollywood needs a continuous thread through the film otherwise, the film will be panned and noone will make any money.
This book on the other hand makes a very good effort at handling and explaining a very complex subject matter that has nothing to do with the film whatsoever (except for perhaps the principles and the locations involved)
All the men worked separately and had their own areas of operation, thus their stories are separate ones, if you wish to interpret this as leading the book to seeming "boring" "disjointed" or badly written then that is your opinion.
I personally found it an enjoyable read and well written.
4 Stars as I feel the end of the book was rather rushed but overall a good book.
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on 7 May 2014
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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on 19 August 2009
Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History

I saw Mr. Edsel on a BBC Segment and immediately ordered this book. It is hard to imagine why such an extraordinary story about a group of such extraordinary men and women has not been told until now. Congratulations to Mr. Edsel for finally writing about the "greatest untold story of WWII" and for bringing attention to these heroes of civilization. The world owes much to them for risking their lives to save so many of our most precious cultural treasures. In one word, this story is remarkable and this book should be a must own for every school library, military base, and politician as a reminder of the legacy of the Monuments Men and of the importance of protecting culture in times of conflict.
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on 10 January 2016
If you leave behind the rather US bias, this collection of first-hand sources linked by fictionalised conversations gives a shockingly face to face immersive account of what actually happened during the final few months of WW2 in Europe, and how one person or two might make a vast difference. It pays a glancing tribute to these few European people at the expense of placing the US personnel in the centre of the frame. It was a collaborative effort without communication during wartime and during harsh occupation. It also briefly illuminates how wrong appearances may be used by right-thinking people for the greater good.
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on 5 November 2014
The author has taken some liberties with the fictional dialogue, but it gives a better read of quite a "dry" subject. Edsel is fine when he sticks to the unit's history, but he does over dramatise the military history. E.g. German "paratroopers dropped into the ruins in Monte Cassino". Britain "a country bombed to tatters by four years of Luftwaffe raids"

For anyone reading The Monuments Men, it's worth finding a copy of Stolen Treasure Stolen Treasure It shows what happened on the Soviet side, where special teams collected art as "trophies" for exhibition in Soviet museums
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on 10 March 2014
Having been to a lot of the areas talked about in the book I was very interested to learn about the work these men did. I can not believe all this happened and there is no mention any where of how they struggled to save these monumental works of art and the treasures stolen by these ruthless Nazis from private ownership and from churches and museums all over Europe. It a testament to their tenacity that they managed to return most of it where it belongs. These men should have a greater mention in European history than they obviously have.
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on 7 November 2013
Interesting, if not very interesting subject, but the writing is all over the place. A fidgety read, easy to put down and above all forgettable.
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on 25 July 2014
I found this book both informative and enjoyable to read. I have learnt a lot from its content, especially the roles played by many individuals drafted from their otherwise ordinary lives. Ordinary turned them into extraordinary people. Also the bravery shown by one French lady who cared for nothing more than important art works remaining in their rightful places.
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