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 Monuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. Focusing on the 11-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.
©2009 Robert M. Edsel; (P)2009 Macmillan Audio
"The story is both engaging and inspiring. In the midst of a total war, armies systematically sought to mitigate cultural loss." (Publishers Weekly)
"[Narrator Jeremy Davidson] varies the pacing effectively, based on the nature of the text. He speeds up slightly during exciting action-filled sequences. He reads letters and documents with a flatter tone, making it easy for listeners to discern when the document stops and the author's words resume. He also gives a slight but not intrusive or cartoonish British accent to quotations by Britishers." (AudioFile)
I did not read the print version.
I would compare this to The Black Count that I listened to recently.
I think the enthusiasm and emotion as the story turns tense.
I was particularly moved by the passion and tenacity of the people involved in recovering this tremendous amount of art.
I really enjoyed the book. It is a well told story full of history, art, suspense, war and personal commitments. It kept me engaged throughout and was a great complement to the movie.
A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!
I was inspired to read this book after seeing the ho-hum movie based on this book. The book is far better, and you learn the real stories behind the movie fictionalization.
Edsel provides a thorough description of the actions of the Monuments Men in northern Europe, where they were before the war, what motivated them, and their triumphs and tragedies during and after the war. I every much enjoyed the overarching story, but found the details sometimes bogged down the story telling.
I had the option of listening to the abridged version of this book, and chose to do the unabridged. If you are interested in the story, I might recommend the abridged version, although I have not listened that version, as my hope is that some of the copious details are left out, leaving you with a broader picture of the actions of the men and women who went to great lengths to save art during WWII. A heartfelt thanks to all of them.
This was a gripping tale about the greatest assault on human culture ever perpetrated, and how a small group of incredibly brave individuals went above and beyond to rescue some of the greatest works of art ever created.
Couldn't put this one down! I've read some great books on the history of World War II, but this one stands out for the uniqueness of the story and the compelling outcome of its central figures. A must read for anyone for any serious student of history and the arts.
Thank goodness there were those aware enough to plan ahead to save art treasures though they still started late in the war. What a fascinating story about devoted men and women who worked to save art and archives. The Nazis were relentless in their zeal to plunder. What could they possibly have wanted with things like insects collections???? It was sad to realize that since WWII there have been no monuments personnel in any war and the treasures of Iraq were decimated as a result.
The historical information, locations and pieces of art mentioned.
The historical information, locations and pieces of art mentioned.
Yes. Loved his ability to entertain with multiple accents and a clear and easy to listen to voice.
This book is wonderful in that it relates history I knew little or nothing about. The content is interesting and delivered well. I would hardly qualify this book as a thriller or difficult to put down although it was written and delivered well. Interesting, definitely worth the "read" but rather slow moving.
Not to listen too. Read maybe
Not sure. Probably not.
This was a very long and at times excruciating book to listen to. I had trouble keeping up with the areas in europe where the art was found and secured. It was interesting, but could have been a lot shorter.
Story - Overall I enjoyed this story. It was interesting to see WWII through this lens of art. This experience influenced our procedures in operations where there was protection of cultural and historical sites. We still shot up the church bell tower to kill the snipers and the enemy observers but we did blow up the whole church.
Performance - The performance was excellent and the actors needed to portray a wide spectrum of personalities.
I had high hopes for this book, but it was confusining. I could not get vested in it. After awhile all the issues blurred together
It would of been more insteresting to follow just one member instead of a bunch.
The narration was great. Are you sure this was not Matt Damon?
The book starts off great. There's a great buildup describing the main characters, what their mission is, who the villains are, what the scenes will be....but then nothing comes together. The 10 main characters all have great back stories, and I was led to believe that they'd all come together to undo some big evil plan of Rosenberg's...but no, nothing. The way Ettlinger's back story was set up, I thought he'd play a huge part in the book, but no, he gets drafted, then pulled from his unit before going to the front, sits around for four months doing absolutely nothing, does some translation work for the MFAA, finds his grandpa's painting, then goes home. What?!? All this buildup for that??? So far as I can tell, the 10 main characters are never even in the same room together. They barely meet, and when they do, it's for a matter of days, maybe a week, then they're off running around like a chicken with its head cut off. That's how the story line of the book goes to, if you can say there is a story line. There's no plot. There's no antagonist. There's no theme. There's no drama. There's no buildup. There's no climax and there's no resolution. The book is just a hodgepodge of random, disjointed stories with WWII going on in the background. Why should I care that a Christmas package of fruit cake arrived in March instead of at Christmas? Why should I care that Rose Valland can't trust anyone and won't give up the information she'd been collecting for 3 years? I don't know. The monuments men follow the front line, going to churches, castles and caves finding and saving artwork that was either stolen or stored for protection. They constantly complain about being understaffed and under-supplied, but no one ever does anything about it. No one seemed to care about the monuments men during the War, after the war, or even up till today. Also, this book is full of historical inaccuracies. Churchill most certainly did not insist on a cross-channel invasion of Europe after fighting had ceased in North Africa. He wanted to go for the soft underbelly of Europe - Italy. Ike, Marshall and FDR were the ones wanting to invade northern Europe right away. If you're interested in WWII history, this book is not for you. Maybe if you're in to art history, you'll find something of interest here, but I doubt it. Is art worth a life? I don't know, but reading this book didn't do anything to answer that question for me.
Probably not. There are blatant historical errors in his research and he didn't do a good job of writing a coherent story.
I don't know. He's got a good voice, but with so many characters, even the best narrator would have a hard time differentiating them all. I couldn't keep track of who was who and where everyone was and what they were doing and why they were doing it. But, on a whole, the narration was okay. His accents sounded forced, fake and it was hard to understand what he was saying with an accent.
I don't know....all of them? After getting through the whole book, I still wasn't sure who was who. I just finished it a few hours ago and I can't even tell you who was in charge of the MFAA. They were really quite forgettable.
Skip this book. I've heard that the Rape of Europa by Lynn H. Nicholas is much better and reads like a thriller.
Member Since 2006!!
The subject matter is interesting and I was eager to learn more about the Monuments Men, but overall the book disappointed me. It wasn???t a bad book, but there was more in it than I wanted to read about - so I found it long and tedious at times. Towards the end, I lost interest and started skipping ahead. I think a 60 minute TV documentary would have been fascinating but this book was too long for me.
Report Inappropriate Content