Largely forgotten by history, the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives officers of World War II's Allied Forces worked to make sure important cultural relics were not destroyed during fighting, coordinated proper repairs where necessary, and helped track down and reclaim paintings, sculptures, important papers, and other objects of note stolen by Nazi officers all over Europe.
This amazing book recently served as inspiration for a movie starting George Clooney, and our library book club has chosen to read it for discussion later this fall. (We'll also be spinning several other adult-programming events in conjunction with the discussion.) I cannot wait for the conversation. What an astounding book!
Edsel follows a handful of MFAA officers from the group's haphazard organization through the war and into their vital post-war restitutions work. We learn a bit about these "monuments men" and what drives them - why each was uniquely qualified for their mission, and how it the war affected their later careers.
I have to additionally note that I listened to the audiobook of this one and the narrator, Jeremy Davidson, was stunning. He did character voices, accents, dramatizations ... it's hard to believe it was just one guy, reading all of this so, so well.