Synopses & Reviews
When Hitler’s armies occupied Italy in 1943, they also seized control of mankind’s greatest cultural treasures. As they had done throughout Europe, the Nazis could now plunder the masterpieces of the Renaissance, the treasures of the Vatican, and the antiquities of the Roman Empire.
On the eve of the Allied invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower empowered a new kind of soldier to protect these historic riches. In May 1944 two unlikely American heroes — artist Deane Keller and scholar Fred Hartt — embarked from Naples on the treasure hunt of a lifetime, tracking billions of dollars of missing art, including works by Michelangelo, Donatello, Titian, Caravaggio, and Botticelli.
With the German army retreating up the Italian peninsula, orders came from the highest levels of the Nazi government to transport truckloads of art north across the border into the Reich. Standing in the way was General Karl Wolff, a top-level Nazi officer. As German forces blew up the magnificent bridges of Florence, General Wolff commandeered the great collections of the Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace, later risking his life to negotiate a secret Nazi surrender with American spymaster Allen Dulles.
Brilliantly researched and vividly written, Saving Italy brings readers from Milan and the near destruction of The Last Supper to the inner sanctum of the Vatican and behind closed doors with the preeminent Allied and Axis leaders: Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Churchill; Hitler, Göring, and Himmler.
An unforgettable story of epic thievery and political intrigue, Saving Italy is a testament to heroism on behalf of art, culture, and history.
“This valuable book rescues an unlikely troop of American heroes from obscurity.” James D. Hornfischer, best-selling author of Neptune’s Inferno
The best-selling author of The Monuments Men tells a blockbuster story of the hunt for the world’s greatest masterpieces.
On the eve of the 1943 invasion of Italy, just weeks before Allied bombs nearly destroyed Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper in Milan, General Dwight Eisenhower empowered a new kind of soldier to protect mankind’s greatest cultural treasures. In May 1944, two unlikely American heroes — an artist and a scholar — embarked from Naples on the treasure hunt of a lifetime, tracking billions of dollars of stolen art, including works by Donatello, Titian, Caravaggio, and Botticelli. As the Germans blew up the historic bridges of Florence and Allied air raids threatened Michelangelo’s David, a heretofore-unknown SS general held the art hostage while negotiating a secret Nazi surrender with American spies. A gripping narrative that will appeal to fans of history, art, travel, and adventure, Saving Italy takes us from the battlefields of Monte Cassino to the Vatican and behind closed doors with the great Allied and Axis leaders: Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Churchill; Hitler, Goring, and Himmler.
About the Author
Robert M. Edsel is the best-selling author of The Monuments Men and Rescuing da Vinci and co-producer of the award-winning documentary film The Rape of Europa. Edsel is also the founder and president of the Monuments Men Foundation, a recipient of the National Humanities Medal, and a trustee at the National WWII Museum. After living in Florence for five years, he now resides in Dallas, Texas.