The Monuments Men

Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History
Book Cover
Author(s): 
Robert M. Edsel
Copyright: 
2009
Number of pages: 
468 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

"The Monuments Men" is an engaging and little known story about servicemen who specialized in trying to preserve the art and culture of Europe during World War II. Not only were they involved in trying to get the Allies to do as little damage as possible in fighting the war, but it became almost another front of the war with Hitler, who not only stole and hoarded unbelievable quantities of art (in order to create his own "Fuhrermuseum"), but also gave orders to destroy these hoards of art as the Allies made headway into Germany.

It's a fascinating story to begin with. The author skillfully weaves together a number of particularly interesting (and informative) stories by focusing in particular on two very great works of art that were particularly coveted by Hitler - Michelangelo's "Bruges Madonna" and the "Ghent Altarpiece" by Jan Van Eyck.

When the author started piecing together stories for this book, he had so much material that he ended up writing a separate book just for the stories about the Monuments Men that took place in Italy. The second volume, entitled "Saving Italy", was published in 2013.

Our family has also seen the movie and very much enjoyed it. It is rated PG-13 for some strong language and is quite simplified in comparison with the book (which is not a bad thing with a book that contains many, many threads of stories), but also has a number of breathtakingly beautiful and profound aspects to it.

Review Date: 
2-8-2014, updated 9-16-2016
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