Memphis Reads – Monument Men by Robert M Edsel and Bret Witter

Staff Book Reviews

Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt In History  by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter

Gone are the  centuries of monuments and artworks that vanished from Western Europe in the late 1930’s to 1945.. Almost every piece of art taken from citizens, churches, towns, and individuals were stolen.The Nazis ,under the leadership of Hitler,  confiscated famous, valuable monuments and works of art from the countries they conquered. Now, with their defeat pending, Hitler wanted to destroy the works he had collected for the Fuhrermuseum. Robert M Edsel with Bret Witter in  Monuments Men : Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History  tells of the soldiers of the Allied Forces Supreme Headquarters Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives (MFAA). These were the soldiers who volunteered to serve, and they were assigned to retrieve the lost art and return it to its rightful owners before Hitler destroyed all of the pieces. These men, who served in World War II from 1943 to 1946, were intent on saving the art and making sure the pieces were prominent in their own art or museum careers.  Each day the men’s lives were in peril while they hunted and rescued monuments, along with books, church altars, church windows, and private citizens’  furniture and other valuable household articles.

The MFAA was a very special group of individuals who left a legacy. Many of the art works that are displayed in present day European galleries were pieces saved by these men under the May 26, 1944 order given by General Eisenhower.

Review by Marilyn U.