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and life along the winding road

Friday, September 26, 2014

Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter

The Monuments Men book by Robert Edsel (recently released as The Monuments Men Movie) was an interesting look into not only how The Monuments Men preserved and cataloged works of art, but the war itself and its twists and turns across Europe. Often fighting with their own forces to limit destruction of artifacts and precious historical buildings, the men were also trying to recover stolen works of art being hidden by the Nazis or shipped to Germany (The Greatest Theft in History). Degenerate works that Hitler hated are still being uncovered. There were many people who helped them with their cause. Rose Vallant spied on the Germans during their time in occupied France and was instrumental in uncovering thousands of works of art.

My thoughts:
The book was full of facts and stories about the WWII, but was easy to read and not dull by any means. The dedication of the Monuments Men (the story follows eight men, but there were over 300 men and women) was impressive. Their efforts, without any clear authority and some with lower ranks, saved many a cultural treasure from destruction or theft. The death and destruction throughout Europe was immense and so many landmarks were not saved although the Monastery at Monte Cassino has since been restored. 

This would make a great book club read. You can find more about the Greatest Theft in History here.


Mason Canyon said...

The book (and the movie) sounds fascinating. I hate to admit it, but I know so little about that war. I think my history teachers should have done better in school and I should do better now.

L. D. said...

I would enjoy it as the movie was so good. My father was there as a radio man, carrying one of those radios they describe. He too was at the Battle of the Bulge and Remagen Bridge. Great review.