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The London Times

Iain Finlayson

Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter (Preface, £20; Buy this book; 496pp) The subtitle pretty much gives the plot and the pitch in précis: “Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History.” From 1942 to 1951, some 350 men and women served in the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section of the Allied Armed Forces to locate and preserve the looted, lost and long-hidden cultural artefacts of Europe. Edsel identifies a select cast of colourful characters, mostly American and French, from this team and puts them through their paces in breathless novelistic style. Edsel and Witter seem to have taken tips from The Da Vinci Code and pulp quest novels to put pep into the personalities and action.