©2013 Robert M. Edsel (P)2013 Recorded Books
I teach. I Listen. I trust your judgment as a fellow listener.
Compelling WWII history keeps me awake at night, risking of a garroting by earbud wires carefully tucked under my pillow. Not this story however. I hit the off button after ten minutes or so.
The story is an important one; where did the art stolen by the Nazis end up? However, the novel is 3/5 personalities and 2/5 art chasing (I'm being generous). The film Monuments Men, from which this book derives, needed plenty of embellishments to forge a screen play out this rather thin tale based on even thinner records.
There are some great vignettes about very famous art works that make the listener go, "huh" or "what a tragedy." It's just not a whole credit's worth. So…listen to be informed, not entertained, if you chose this book.
For lovers of art, Italian culture and history.
"Monuments Men," also by Robert Edsel, which covers the activities in Northeastern Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, Austria.) That book is also excellent, but the narration in this case is far superior..Edoardo Ballerini has a perfect accent in both American English and Italian, so names are pronounced correctly, as are the quotations in the Italian language. Also, unlike the narrator of "Monuments Men," he does not put on goofy accents when reading direct quotes of non American characters.
So many...The destruction of the the venerable monastery at Monte Cassino by the Americans for fear of Germans using it as a hiding place...this was one of the events that led to creation of the Monuments Men.The destruction of Florence's bridges by the Nazis, including one believed to have been designed by Michelangelo...The destruction of Camposanto in Pisa..
I appreciate the extensive research of the author, Much of this history about Word War II in Italy and the military on all sides I did not know. This book was an education everyone should have.
I love Italy and lived there so it was personal for me and painful to hear what happened.to the cities, the people, and the art.
He did a fantastic job. His voice and his Italian was perfect for this book.
I don’t know how you could read this and not feel rage, disgust and sadness. and even panic at times.
Much is narration, but you will hear from the real characters in the story. Very interesting. I think it is very difficult to present all of this history in an entertaining format. To fully understand, it helps to get a reference of the artwork and the places mentioned in Italy. This is not your ordinary light reading.. Sometimes I would drift a little but it doesn't matter if you don't get every bit of it, listen to the book anyway.
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