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MelindaB

Reading Maketh a Full Man...

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Currently reading

The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Canto)
C.S. Lewis
Boys and Girls Learn Differently!: A Guide for Teachers and Parents
Michael Gurian, Terry Trueman, Patricia Henley
Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet
Christian Wiman
Deep River: The Life and Music of Robert Shaw
Keith C. Burris
Daring, Trusting Spirit
John De Gruchy
The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church
John Thavis
The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia
Orlando Figes

The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War

The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War - Lynn H. Nicholas I have read "Rescuing Da Vinci" and also seen the DVD "The Rape of Europa", so I am now reading the original book that was the catalyst for the book and DVD. Lynn Nicholas is interviewed in the DVD and I decided to read her book and learn more.******** after reading the book *********Having read "Rescuing Da Vinci" and having watched the DVD "The Rape of Europa", I thought I would read the book that started it all. Lynn Nicholas, who is interviewed extensively on the DVD, wrote this book to document the stunning history around the purchase / acquisition / theft of Europe's treasured works of art during WWII by the Nazis. The book is dense, thick with details, heavy with names of dozens if not hundreds of art dealers and collectors along with museum curators from every nation in Europe. In some places, it is overwhelming in the detail and thoroughness. The path of art acquisition by Nazis in Holland, France, Austria, Italy is followed from the early years of Hitler's rise to power in Germany in the 1930's on into the early 1950's. Knowing what will happen, the book then begins to read like an adventure novel. Will the Monuments Men be organized in time to save SOME of the art objects? You know that they do, but the harrowing stories of rescue of treasures from barns, cow sheds, abandoned railway cars and more, simply emphasizes the hard work carried out by the men who were there.What struck me in reading this book was that none of the Monuments men involved knew that they would be successful. They merely did the hard work of locating, listing, securing, packing, and preserving the art objects they worked hard to find and preserve. They fought for the art to be returned to original owners, from the countries where it had been stolen from. This flew in the face of many military opinions that thought the art objects obtained should go to "the victor". So while the process of stealing the art seemed like a well-oiled machine, the saving and restoration of these art objects seemed so difficult and full of conflict. It made me think of the section from "The Two Towers", when Frodo and Sam are discussing old tales and songs (chapter "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol"). Sam tells Frodo, " 'The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might way. But that's not the way it is with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually -- their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on -- and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same -- like old Mr. Bilbo. But those aren't always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sot of tale we've fallen into?' "The Monuments Men fell into a story that mattered, and they went on even when they had the chance to turn back. What an example for us all, to do the hard work in front of us because it is the right thing to do.