Saving Italy: The Race To Rescue A Nation's Treasures From The Nazis

Hardcover | May 7, 2013

byRobert M Edsel

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When Hitler’s armies occupied Italy in 1943, they also seized control of mankind’s greatest cultural treasures. As they had done throughout Europe, the Nazis could now plunder the masterpieces of the Renaissance, the treasures of the Vatican, and the antiquities of the Roman Empire.

On the eve of the Allied invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower empowered a new kind of soldier to protect these historic riches. In May 1944 two unlikely American heroes—artist Deane Keller and scholar Fred Hartt—embarked from Naples on the treasure hunt of a lifetime, tracking billions of dollars of missing art, including works by Michelangelo, Donatello, Titian, Caravaggio, and Botticelli.

With the German army retreating up the Italian peninsula, orders came from the highest levels of the Nazi government to transport truckloads of art north across the border into the Reich. Standing in the way was General Karl Wolff, a top-level Nazi officer. As German forces blew up the magnificent bridges of Florence, General Wolff commandeered the great collections of the Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace, later risking his life to negotiate a secret Nazi surrender with American spymaster Allen Dulles.

Brilliantly researched and vividly written, Saving Italy brings readers from Milan and the near destruction of The Last Supper to the inner sanctum of the Vatican and behind closed doors with the preeminent Allied and Axis leaders: Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Churchill; Hitler, Göring, and Himmler.

An unforgettable story of epic thievery and political intrigue, Saving Italy is a testament to heroism on behalf of art, culture, and history.

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When Hitler’s armies occupied Italy in 1943, they also seized control of mankind’s greatest cultural treasures. As they had done throughout Europe, the Nazis could now plunder the masterpieces of the Renaissance, the treasures of the Vatican, and the antiquities of the Roman Empire. On the eve of the Allied invasion, General Dwight Eis...

Robert M. Edsel is the best-selling author of The Monuments Men and Rescuing da Vinci and co-producer of the award-winning documentary film The Rape of Europa. Edsel is also the founder and president of the Monuments Men Foundation, a recipient of the National Humanities Medal, and a trustee at the National WWII Museum. After living in...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:464 pages, 9.5 × 6.5 × 1.5 inPublished:May 7, 2013Publisher:WW NortonLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0393082415

ISBN - 13:9780393082418

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Editorial Reviews

“Edsel’s knowledge and appreciation of art amplifies this celebration of the unheralded group of men who ensured the safety of Italy’s greatest treasures.” — Kirkus Reviews“ is an astonishing account of a little known American effort to save Italy’s vast store of priceless monuments and art during World War II. While American warriors were fighting the length of the country, other Americans were courageously working alongside to preserve the irreplaceable best of Italy’s culture. Read it and be proud of those who were on their own front lines of a cruel war.” — Tom Brokaw“Revealing…. That the Monuments Men were able to do as much as they did, amid a war with more urgent priorities is remarkable….” — Hugh Eakin (The Wall Street Journal)“Robert Edsel has written a captivating, and at times hair-raising, book on the audacious Allied effort during World War II to save the priceless art treasurers in Italy. It is impossible to imagine what Western civilization would be today without these cultural masterpieces. Edsel has written a gripping, heroic story of the Monuments Men who saved them from certain destruction.” — Susan Eisenhower“ is a teeming work…by an author passionate about his subject.” — Matthew Price (Newsday)“Edsel’s recovery of the history of the Monuments Men makes for a remarkable and fascinating story. As more recent conflicts have shown, the havoc that war can wreak upon our artistic heritage has unfortunately not diminished and there are important lessons in this book for policy makers and all who care about the preservation of the world’s artistic legacy for future generations.” — Timothy Potts, Director, the J. Paul Getty Museum“Edsel is very good on how the officers charged with identifying what had happened to Italy’s art went about their work. He gives a vivid flavor of what life must have been like as they searched among the ruins.” — Alsadair Palmer (The Mail on Sunday)“What a dramatic story!” — Andrew Nagorski (Washington Post)