The Monuments Men: Amazing Story. Boring Delivery.

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History
By: Robert M. Edsel
My Rating: Four out of Five Stars
Best For: 16 and up

Such an amazing story. Such a boring delivery.

Oh man. I REALLY wanted this story to be awesome.

An actual World War II treasure hunt?

Tens of thousands of paintings, statues, writings, silverworks–including works by Immortals like Michelangelo, Raphael, Vermeer, van Gough, Rembrandt, and di Vinci–LITERALLY stolen by the Nazi’s from Churches and homes as they pillaged their way through Europe?

A race against time into underground mines and actual castles scattered across Germany and Austria to find the art before the Nazi’s destroyed it?

No, this isn’t an amazing, white-knuckled, imaginative, thrilling-but-fictional story. This story is true. This really happened. THIS REALLY HAPPENED, and I can hardly believe it. Hitler was planning an Empire that would stand for 1000’s of years. His plans included the terrors of ethnic cleansing and annexing the governments of the world. He also intended to make Germany the center of enlightenment–which included a grand museum of worthy art. So, the Nazi forces were tasked with cleansing. And annexing. And stealing art to bring it back to Germany.

If the art was not considered worthy, it was destroyed, and tragically thousands of works were lost to Nazi idealisms. And when it because clear their vision for the world was not to be, Hitler issued the Nero Decree, ordering the compete and utter destruction of German infrastructure–including the art they’d already captured. If they couldn’t have it, no one could.

And the race was on. The Monuments Men were charged with saving the art and returning it to its owners–before the Nazis could destroy it. They saved most. But many were not, including pieces by Rembrandt, van Gogh, Raphael, and others.

What a story! Sounds exciting, right? You want to read the book now, don’t you?!

That’s how I got sucked in, and I found all those elements of that exciting treasure hunt, trying to sneak through. But sadly, while wonderfully researched, the story was so dull! I think the problem is in this subtle nuance: the story isn’t about the treasure hunt. It’s about the treasure hunters. And while it was wonderful to learn about the people who were involved, I didn’t want to read about THEM. I wanted to read about the TREASURE! There are so many people and places involved, I lost track of who was who and where was where, and the histories and biographies and letters home became annoying lawn furniture I kept tripping over trying to get to the treasure hunt.

I would LOVE someone like Michael Shaara or Amor Towles or Daniel James Brown or Laura Hillenbrand to write a fact-based, historical narrative based on the the story of The Monuments Men. This is some really tremendous history, and it’s absolutely begging for a talented author to write something amazing about it.

No content issues, but it is a very long 459 pages. 5 stars for the history. 3 stars for the execution.

Best for 16 and up.

Get your copy here

Happy Reading!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: