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Publisher's Summary

When Hitler’s armies occupied Italy in 1943, they also seized control of mankind’s greatest cultural treasures. As they had done throughout Europe, the Nazis could now plunder the masterpieces of the Renaissance, the treasures of the Vatican, and the antiquities of the Roman Empire. On the eve of the Allied invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower empowered a new kind of soldier to protect these historic riches. In May 1944 two unlikely American heroes—artist Deane Keller and scholar Fred Hartt—embarked from Naples on the treasure hunt of a lifetime, tracking billions of dollars of missing art, including works by Michelangelo, Donatello, Titian, Caravaggio, and Botticelli.
©2013 Robert M. Edsel (P)2013 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • Craig
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 01-17-15

More Personalities than Art Chasing

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • MetroLady
  • New York, NY United States
  • 09-03-14

Fascinating story, excellent narration

If you could sum up Saving Italy in three words, what would they be?

For lovers of art, Italian culture and history.

What other book might you compare Saving Italy to and why?

"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.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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..

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • William
  • Winston Salem, NC, United States
  • 07-22-13

Fascinating story, but...

This is a fascinating story, and mostly a fascinating book though it slows down at times.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • SusanKC
  • Kansas City, MO (for now)
  • 04-04-15

A Philosophy of Life

The theme of this series of books is 'Preserve and Protect.' I wish that all of us would adopt this as a life philosophy and insist that our government and companies would do the same. Think how much safer, cleaner, and freer our lives would be!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • BG
  • Paradise Valley, Montana
  • 06-28-14

the Vatican survived, barely

What made the experience of listening to Saving Italy the most enjoyable?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Saving Italy?

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.

What about Edoardo Ballerini’s performance did you like?

He did a fantastic job. His voice and his Italian was perfect for this book.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I don’t know how you could read this and not feel rage, disgust and sadness. and even panic at times.

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Hoping for something a bit more about art history

I didn't mind lots of commentary and context about WWII - obviously that's what this book is about - but I was really hoping for more material covering the art. Military history is by far my weakest area in history, so I'm glad to have a chance to broaden it, but I also find it very dry.

One of the biggest issues for me personally is that it's hard for me to keep track of a large cast of characters in an audiobook. I love them when reading, but I'm a very visual person and can keep track of names visually. Not so for audio. It's the main reason I don't listen to many fictional audiobooks. This book had far more characters going than I expected it to, and it was hard to keep track.

For anyone interested in military history or broadening their WWII history though, this book would be wonderful. I think the narrator did a good job, and the author obviously did his homework.

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Recommended

Fascinating story, not well known. Especially for those interested in art history and WWII history--& anyone visiting Italy.