Monuments Men: Part I

Remember the excitement and jubilation on Ralphy’s face every time he told someone the only thing he wanted for Christmas was a “Red Rider Carbine-Action 100-Shot Range Model BB Rifle?” Well that is how I feel after watching George Clooney’s trailer for the upcoming film Monuments Men.

I adore this book, Robert M. Edsel is a genius.  I read it just after completing a 73-page thesis entitled, “Art, Race, and Politics: The Nazi Aesthetic as Cultural Instruction” while in a temp job where I proctored final exams (…part of the instructions were to bring reading material!). Edsel’s account of the fight by this small band of men and women to save Europe’s art was a wonderful escape from the real world and an opportunity to extend the research to which I had just devoted more than 18 months of my life.

Remember when you were just out of college and thrived in the moment when someone asked you what you studied, so you could rattle off the first 6 pages of your thesis? Well, that was me. After having my nose in the works of almost every predominant Nazi historian, I couldn’t put down Edsel’s story. The best way to study history is to look at both sides of the coin, but that is a topic for another post.

Extremely well written, this book delves into the intriguing, sometimes nail-biting, stories of the men and women, the museum directors, curators, art historians, and educators who risked their lives to save the cultural artifacts of European history. Their vital work is forever memorialized by the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art.

I understand that when George Clooney takes on a project he gives it 110 percent. I hope he does Mr. Edsel, his book, and the men and women who lived this story proud.

Until December 8…




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