Thursday, May 22, 2014
The Monuments Men, the rest of the story
I had to search for an image of the cover of the book, "The Monuments Men, Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History" by Robert M. Edsel. Type in "monuments men" and you will find hundreds of movie images. The movie was a good one and it caused me to place my name in the queue for the book from the library months ago, but the book is so much better and the story much greater than a two hour movie can ever show or tell.
Robert M. Edsel has spent years of his life researching and writing about the monuments men and the difference they made in the cultural and artistic state of the world. I earlier wrote about "Saving Italy". It was written after "The Monuments Men" and tells the story of the monuments men in Italy during the war while his first book was about the Western Front and occupation of Germany by the Allied Forces. Reading both books will provide one with a great history of World War II as well as a lesson in art appreciation, while introducing you to some true heroes who we knew so little about because they were of "the greatest generation" who seldom talked about themselves. These heroes were also those who continued in their service after the war in art conservation, architecture, painting, sculpture, museum curating, and promotion of the arts. Their story needed to be told and Edsel has done a masterful job of doing so.
For the rest of the story of the "greatest upheaval of cultural items in history" and those who found and saved them, Edsel has done a wonderful job. Time to put your name in the queue.
Just in time for Memorial Day, Congress has just passed a bill giving Congressional Medals of Honor to these men. For more information go here. The hunt for lost art work continues through Monuments Men Foundation.