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

Published: 2013-10-22
Mass Market Paperback : 640 pages
12 members reading this now
21 clubs reading this now
7 members have read this book
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 ...
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Introduction

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.

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Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

Compare and contrast how the art work was considered a valuable resource worth protecting in WW II with how the US army dealt with the cultural treasures contained in the museums and zoos in Bagdad.
by barbchickweed (see profile) 06/03/14

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

Publisher's Weekly review:

WWII was the most destructive war in history and caused the greatest dislocation of cultural artifacts. Hundreds of thousands of items remain missing. The main burden fell to a few hundred men and women, curators and archivists, artists and art historians from 13 nations. Their task was to save and preserve what they could of Europe's great art, and they were called the Monuments Men. (Coincidentally or not, this book appears only briefly after Ilaria Dagnini Brey's The Venus Fixers: The Untold Story of the Allied Soldiers Who Saved Italy's Art During World War II, Reviews, June 1.) Edsel has presented their achievements in documentaries and photographs. He and Witter (coauthor of the bestselling Dewey) are no less successful here. Focusing on the organization's role in northwest Europe, they describe the Monuments Men from their initial mission to limit combat damage to structures and artifacts to their changed focus of locating missing items. Most had been stolen by the Nazis. In southern Germany alone, over a thousand caches emerged, containing everything from church bells to insect collections. The story is both engaging and inspiring. In the midst of a total war, armies systematically sought to mitigate cultural loss.

Book Club Recommendations

Army Rations?
by sbsalsa (see profile) 08/12/13
Serve Army Rations or french bread, grapes and wine, wear military or patriotic garb, dress like the french, wear leiderhosen, come as a character from a piece of art mentioned in the book (Mona Lisa?).

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "The Monuments Men "by cbrouillard (see profile) 05/19/15

Very good read about the saving of art treasures and how a few men made a difference.

 
  "Worth reading"by barbchickweed (see profile) 06/03/14

I really enjoyed this book. Perhaps it is the perennial student in me, but I found the history and context set out here to be easy to follow and the story line amazing. Despite the inclusion of photos... (read more)

 
  "The Monuments Men"by bayleaf (see profile) 05/26/14

You don't have to be an art historian to read, understand, and enjoy this book. Although it is longer than the average book club read, I felt it read quickly and not sluggishly or pedantically. The Monuments... (read more)

 
  "The Monuments Men"by pemberton (see profile) 02/19/14

 
  "The monuments men"by kathymur92 (see profile) 02/19/14

This book had amazing content and was well written. It could have been boring with all the statistics and names and places however it flowed with ease. I highly recommend it.

 
  "Hard to Tackle, But Glad I Did"by sbsalsa (see profile) 08/12/13

This book is not historical fiction. It is NON-fiction which might make it hard for fiction lovers and historical fictions lovers alike to read through to the end. Very detailed, which in the end was... (read more)

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