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on 23 February 2012
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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on 10 January 2014
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 9 July 2017
This should have been a great book. The men who searched out the lost works of art that were looted and hidden by the Nazis were dedicated and inventive and they achieved surprising success. The people in occupied territories who kept good records and tried to prevent the wholesale destruction or disappearance of valuable items risked their lives. The whole issue of the looted art works, how they were secreted away, and the issues surrounding them as the fabric of Europe changed after WWII is full of fascinating moments. Sadly this book which seeks to explore all of these elements was not an easy read.

The book darts around the cast of characters and I wasn't always able to keep them straight but there was a good list at the beginning which should have helped. I did find, however, that the author seemed to want to tell me a lot of detail and all in the same tone. It seemed almost like reading a shopping list. I really didn't get any tension and there was no variable pacing so even though I really wanted to know what happened I actually found myself bored reading what should have been a gripping story.

My rating relates to the actually telling of this story. The research and subject matter were worthy of a more exciting and readable presentation.
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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 17 March 2017
Simply dreadful. A fascinating story written like a bad school essay. So scant on detail it falls back on made up dialogue Such a shame with the subject material it should have been excellent
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on 14 May 2017
Good buy and quality
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on 7 October 2017
Fascinating
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on 17 October 2014
This is a tremendously interesting account. These are unsung heros who saved our civilization from loosing irreplaceable cultural treasures. We owe them a debt of thanks. This is a story few knew about unless they lived in that time, but even those who lived through WWII may not have been fully aware of the insanity planned by the Third Reich.
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on 6 March 2017
Lots of detail about the Allies and Hitler's regime, which was interesting. Enjoyed it.
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on 20 April 2017
Excellent. Received on time. Well packed. Very professional.
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