The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and The Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, by Robert Edsel

Find in catalogYou might have seen the movie about these men that came out two or three years ago starring George Clooney, Hugh Bonneville, Bill Murray, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchette, and others. The book is over 400 pages long and is full of much more detail than the movie, as you would expect. I found the book to be quite interesting and hard to put down. The topic seems particularly timely, given the situation in the Middle East and the various groups there blowing up statues and temples and looting historic treasures. Think of Palmyra. The sad thing is that very people are aware of what the Monuments Men did during WWII, including current members of the Armed Forces. One of the key officers in charge of tracking down the 15,000 looted art treasures from the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad following the US-led invasion in 2003 acknowledged that he had never heard of the Monuments Men. Here he is doing basically the same thing as the Monument Men. The book warns that “all countries ignore the Monuments Men’s legacy at their own peril”.

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