Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis

Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis

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By (author) Robert M. Edsel

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  • Publisher: WW Norton & Co
  • Format: Paperback | 496 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 206mm x 43mm | 386g
  • Publication date: 11 February 2014
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0393348806
  • ISBN 13: 9780393348804
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: 61 illustrations; 3 maps
  • Sales rank: 92,020

Product description

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, the New York Times bestselling 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, Goring, 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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Author information

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 Florence for five years, he now resides in Dallas, Texas.

Review quote

"Dramatic...lively narrative." -- Andrew Nagorski "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 "Riveting narrative history." "An absorbing, thoroughly researched gallop of a history book." -- Noah Charney "A teeming work...by an author passionate about his subject." -- Matthew Price "A suspenseful tale worthy of an Indiana Jones plot. He pulls you into a dangerous web of intrigue in which the Vatican, top German SS generals, American OSS operatives and Italian officials are entwined in top-secret negotiations to end the war. A must read for any WWII history enthusiast." -- Gordon H. "Nick" Mueller, President/CEO, The National WWII Museum "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 "An amazing story, superbly told." -- Carlo D'Este, bestselling author of Patton: A Genius For War