Now that I have finished all three Hunger Games books, and fulfilling a random urge for some light fiction, I have finally gotten around to starting to read The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, by Robert M. Edsel. This book is about the members of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program that fell under the Civil Affairs and Military Government sections of the Allied forces in Europe. Some reviews say this book is about a bunch of museum curators and art experts looking around Europe after World War II to recover the famous pieces of Art that the Nazis "acquired" as part of their plan for world domination. What this book is really about is professional soldiers who could have inspired their own Indiana Jones tv series as they hunted down and dug up all those really great pieces that truly belong in a museum. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in Nazis, art, the military in Europe following World War II, museums, good stories, or Indiana Jones. (And I hear George Clooney is making this book into a movie......definitely going to see that one!)
Some people might be confused as to why the MFAA was so important, or why the stories and efforts of these soldiers are relevant today. The Army is still actively involved in protecting the cultural property of nations such as Iraq, and making sure that the knowledge and techniques used in the past is still available today just makes the job easier. Also, historic preservation specialists and historians are important as the Army works on opening The National Museum of the United States Army. Preserving clothing that belonged to soldiers in World War I, or putting together a display of artwork from veterans, is an important part of respecting our Army heritage, as well as boosts morale. Nothing makes you appreciate today's cots so much as seeing the sleep sacks carried by Union soldiers.