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

78%

13 Critic Reviews

I’m sure the movie won’t be able to capture the breadth and complexity of actual history, but I hope it will inspire others to pick up this book or, at the very least, ignite conversation about culture and the arts and the value of supporting and maintaining this collective legacy.
-From Left to Write

Synopsis

At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: "degenerate" works he despised.
In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Momuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture.
Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world's great art from the Nazis.
 

About Robert M. Edsel

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Robert Edsel began his career in the oil and gas exploration business. In 1996 he moved to Europe to pursue his interests in the arts. Settling in Florence seeing some of the great works, he wondered how all of the monuments and art treasures survived the devastation of World War II. During the ensuing years, he devoted himself to finding the answer. In the process, he commissioned major research that has resulted in this book. Robert also coproduced the related documentary film, The Rape of Europa, and cowrote Rescuing Da Vinci, a photographic history of an art heist of epic proportions and the Allied rescue effort. The author lives in Dallas. Bret Witter cowrote the bestseller Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World (Grand Central, 2008). He lives in Louisville, KY.
 
Published August 14, 2009 by Center Street. 468 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Arts & Photography, War, Biographies & Memoirs, Travel, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Mar 16 2014
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Critic reviews for The Monuments Men
All: 13 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 3

Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Sandra Cruz on Feb 06 2014

True art lovers will find “The Monuments Men” a touching retelling of the brave actions that these men and women took in an effort to save culture from being destroyed. While there were so many other tragic war stories this book focuses on their work. It is highly recommended if only for the pictures at the end that show them in action.

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The Washington Post

Above average
Reviewed by Jonathan Yardley on Sep 27 2009

That so much of what they stole was eventually recovered by this tiny band of determined people was nothing short of miraculous. It makes for a terrific story, even when it's not told very well.

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BookPage

Good
Reviewed by Howard Shirley on Sep 01 2009

Whether you’re a fan of art, military history or stories of real-life heroes, The Monuments Men is a treasure worth the hunt.

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World War II Database

Above average
Reviewed by David Stubblebine on Apr 22 2014

As a World War II book, Monuments Men had little in the way of shooting or troop movements but it was a very thorough treatment of a more peripheral chapter of the war; a chapter with huge implications for the post-war survival of the European culture.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by MaxMU on Apr 25 2014

It is a great non-fiction book, but gets too slow at some points in the book. I would recommend this book to more young adult readers.

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Lesa's Book Critiques

Good
Reviewed by Lesa on Nov 06 2013

Fortunately for history, Robert M. Edsel tells the story of World War II and those people charged with preserving the world's culture in The Monuments Men.

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http://skrishnasbooks.com

Good
Reviewed by Swapna Krishna on Nov 06 2013

...despite the fact that their story isn’t well known, the Monuments Men performed an important service for all of us, making sure that Europe’s cultural history was preserved, even while facing the worst of humanity.

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Quick Book Reviews

Good
on Feb 08 2014

All in all, The Monuments Men is one of the more exciting and original nonfiction works about World War II, discussing an overly-neglected topic, the events of which nevertheless had a rather drastic impact on life after the conflict.

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From Left to Write

Good
on Nov 13 2013

I’m sure the movie won’t be able to capture the breadth and complexity of actual history, but I hope it will inspire others to pick up this book or, at the very least, ignite conversation about culture and the arts and the value of supporting and maintaining this collective legacy.

Read Full Review of The Monuments Men: Allied Her...

Blogging for a Good Book

Above average
Reviewed by Charlotte on Mar 12 2014

...if you’re at all interested in the intersection of art and WWII, then you’ll enjoy learning where history and the movie overlap, and where the truth has been stretched to fit a different story.

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JulzReads

Good
Reviewed by Julz on Feb 23 2014

I learned so much about the extent of how the culture of Europe was saved by so many selfless and determined individuals. I appreciate books that present history in an approachable manner and this was pure enjoyment from start to finish.

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https://bookpeopleblog.wordpress.com

Above average
Reviewed by Katie G. on Feb 13 2014

The book The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel is a great romp into the territory of WWII. While staying firmly planted in non-fiction, this book has the feel of reading a novel. It’s filled with dialogue and great scenes straight from the journals and records of the Monuments, Fire Arts & Archives (MFAA) division of the U. S. Army.

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Mary Drew

Excellent
Reviewed by Mary on Mar 02 2014

I didn't think I was going to be impressed with what I thought was a military history with a patina of art laid on. But of course the book was not that at all.

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