Book review: The Monuments Men by Robert Edsel

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in HistoryThe Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book really deserves a bifurcated rating. I give the actual story–the history–5 stars. Recovering and preserving the priceless art that the Nazis looted during their march through Europe is a riveting story that deserves far more publicity than it has received. Unfortunately, the book does not do the actual story justice.
While this is a review of the book and not the movie, I have the same critique about both. That is, I find the actual historical events far more interesting than the book (or the movie). The writing is flat, and the characters–some of whom would be extraordinarily interesting, I think–came across dull and boring.
It is with disappointment that I write this because the actual events and discoveries and personalities are and should be compelling and exciting. Unfortunately, the book does not do the Monuments Men and their accomplishments justice. However, the book does throw light on an undeservedly obscure chapter of World War II and, for that, it should be appreciated. (Not to mention that I’m highly appreciative of the casting of George Clooney in the movie!)

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