The Monuments Men
by Robert M. Edsel. Now that the Spring semester has ended, I tossed this book in my bag for a European business
trip in May. This was really a good read. The premise is that art museum affiliates, curators, and restorers from the
US and UK were deployed with the Allied armies toward the end of WW2 to safeguard European art and architecture being
damaged by the war or being looted by the Nazi's as they retreated.
What I liked about this book was that the story was, for the most part, behind the front lines. Though, there were casualties among the small number of Monuments Men. A particularly moving part of the book told about when Patton's 3rd Army liberated Buchenwald in April 1945. One of these "Monuments Men" was able to provide a Jewish chaplain with a copy of the Torah so that he could conduct services for the survivors. Afterwords, the chaplain said how the people wept, and touched and kissed the scrolls, generally overcome with joy at the symbol of their faith so long denied to them. The Law, the Torah, is considered by the Jews to be God's presence among them.
The movie based on the book is very good, too. It nicely merges the stories in the book into about 6 main characters.