Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History
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"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) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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?
And now a New York Times Bestseller. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
A missed oppurtunity.
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.
There is plenty of explanation about the backgrounds of the individuals involved. They all come from artistic worlds to some degree and relished the opportunity to have a part in saving the culture heritage of Europe.
Conflict of many kinds is at the heart of this book. There is the actual fighting against the Germans and also the dilemma of trying not to cause any more damage than is absolutely necessary. It was one of the jobs of the Monuments Men to keep reminding everyone of their obligations to the fabric of the countries they were saving.
A lot is written about World War II but I've never read so much detail about the advance of the troops across Europe after D day. The winter of 1944/5 created dreadful conditions for the men and this author describes the conditions perfectly - I had complete understanding without any overwhelming drama.
Throughout the book there is a lot of repetition which is really good. Reinforcing the facts about the men and the locations is necessary in an account of a period of history which is very confusing. The repetition makes the people become familiar enabling the reader to concentrate on the progress.
We follow the troops across Europe (as do the Monuments Men) and when they arrive in Germany the most incredible finds are made, in castles, mines and other places. The book ratchets up the excitement when they enter the treasure troves of art stolen by the Nazis.Read more ›
But for me, as a UK person with parents who both had first-hand overseas Services experience of WW2, the most annoying factor is its very US-centric focus.
I hope it's not necessary to give US readers as much explanatory detail about Europe as this author (or his editor) seems to feel they require and I'm sure European readers (UK included) have no need of it. I mean, I know where Belgium is and that Paris is the French capital, and I can't be the only one who does…
It is perfectly possible that my take on America's role in the second world war was never going to coincide with the author's, given my family background, and younger British or European readers may not agree with me. However, I have to say I found unacceptable and deeply patronising his view, both implied and overt, repeatedly expressed, that when the US army arrived in Europe the war was, consequently, all but over.
There are not many books that I can't make myself persevere to the end of, but this was one. The sad thing is that in other hands it could perhaps have been fascinating.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
After 105 pages I give up, disjointed, repetitive & of course America won the war. Good idea, shame about the author.Published 4 months ago by MRS W MINNEY
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... Read morePublished 7 months ago by dontaskpcandy
Rather a hard read. Very America in perspective, but interesting nonetheless. In retrospect probably not my first choice for a recount of saving artifacts from WWIIPublished 11 months ago by Kerima
It tells a very interesting story in a competent way. If you saw the movie you'll barely recognise the book. Recommended to history geeks especially.Published 11 months ago by CA cat
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