Conversation: Robert Edsel, Author of ‘The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History’

BY Arts Desk  November 11, 2009 at 12:16 PM EDT

It was a drama that largely took place behind the scenes of the great sweep of destruction, violence and final triumph of the second world war: the systematic looting of art by the Nazis, and the response and rescue effort by the United States and its allies. Much of that work was undertaken by a small group that came to be known as the Monuments Men, which is also the title of a new book that tells their story.

Its author, Robert Edsel, is the director of the Monuments Men Foundation, which seeks to help preserve the memory and legacy of that work and to raise awareness for the protection of art and cultural assets during armed conflict.

Edsel joined me to discuss his new book.

Editor’s note: For more on the discussion about recovering art looted by the Nazis, you can watch this conversation with Stewart Eizenstat, who led the U.S. delegation at the recent Holocaust Era Assests Conference held in Prague this year.

Vietnam MemorialAnd for another story for Veterans Day, watch an interview with Maya Lin, the architect who made her spectacular debut in 1982 with the work she’s still best known for: the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.