Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Bestselling Monuments Men Book Sneak Peek

By Marcia Marks

The Monuments Men book is set in Nazi Europe and tells the tale of a little known US Army unit. This unit, known as the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section is given special orders delivered straight from President Roosevelt by way of General Eisenhower himself, to protect the cultural artifacts that were made vulnerable by the war coursing around them. The soldiers who formed this select group were known as, "The Monuments Men."

Towards the end of World War II world leaders and experts in the arts world became concerned at the very real danger of some of the world's patrimony being lost forever. The threat of theft and destruction of valuable pieces of art and monuments was already happening and had to be brought under control. This led to the creation of the special unit whose chief orders were to seek out and protect these for the future of mankind's cultural heritage.

Almost everyone knows of the human rights atrocities of the Nazis, but this parallel destruction of cultural patrimony is an often neglected area. This story brings to life on the page the brave efforts of archivists, curators and educators, among others, who formed a part of the unit. It is thanks to their efforts that a lot of priceless art or monuments were saved.

Written by Robert M Edsel, with Bret Witter the story chronicles the 11 month period of the unit's operation from just before D-Day to VE Day. The thrilling tale takes you on adventures behind enemy lines as the members of the unit sift through Europe hunting down priceless works and saving them and with them thousands of years of collected cultural history.

The unit was made up of both men and women who came from several nations and were drawn from professions ranging from education to museum curators and archivists. Risking their lives for our cultural heritage, these war time treasure hunters were engaged in a race against the clock with the bomb-riddled Europe nipping and their heels. With only their steadfast belief in the importance of their actions to sustain them, they achieved great things.

Edsel is also the author of Rescuing Da Vinci, which explores an impressive art heist. Originally Edsel was involved in gas and oil business, but left the industry in order to indulge his love of the arts, and moved to Florence, Italy. Upon visiting some of the great city's museums he began to wonder about how so many of the pieces on display had made it through the world wars unscathed and intact.

The book has been made into a movie produced, written and starring George Clooney. Other cast members that bring the pages to life on the silver screen include some of Hollywood's hottest actors, such as: Matt Damon, Bill Murray and Cate Blanchett. The movie is scheduled for release in 2014 by Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox.

The Monuments Men book is a thrilling, twisting tale weaving itself in an out of some of the most dramatic events of World War II. A must read for any history buff or those who love a triumph over crippling odds.

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