When I exercise in the morning I read to get myself through the 1 hour bike ride. During this time I read a lot of non-fiction and it's all in hardback form. Periodically I go to Barnes and Noble and shop the bargain books for my reading material. I usually buy about 10 books at a time and the topics are very random. Just yesterday I finished reading the thoroughly entertaining I Am Ozzy. All I can say is that Ozzy Osbourne has had an incredibly interesting life.
But today I want to tell you about a war history story that I think will appeal to all art lovers. The Monuments Men by Robert M Edsel was published in 2009 so it's in the bargain books sections now.
I admit that I'm not much on war stories but this one is compelling. Here's the summary:
At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: "degenerate" works he despised.
In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Momuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture.
Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world's great art from the Nazis.
The most valuable piece of art stolen by the Nazis was the Ghent Altarpiece. This book tells the story of how 6 men protected, found and returned countless monuments and priceless works of art, including the Ghent Altarpeice. When reading it you think it's a great mystery book and then you realize that it's all true! It includes photos of the recovery of some art works including the Madonna of Burges. She had quite the adventure during the war.
If you like art and you like history you might want to try this book.