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Treasure Hunt

1 rating: 3.0
A book by William Honan

At the end of World War II, as Nazis were rounded up and detained by occupational forces and small towns across Europe were bursting to the seams with Allied personnel assigned to mop-up duties, an ancient treasure-trove somehow managed to vanish from … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: William Honan
Genre: History
Publisher: Delta
1 review about Treasure Hunt

Gimme a T for Texas, treasure--and treachery

  • Jan 17, 2011
Rating:
+3
While most of the literature from the World War II cultural war over appropriated artifacts focuses rightly on the raking of European art into Nazi hiding places (see for example, my review of The Monuments Men) , Honan in this fascinating tale focuses on a single but highly significant theft of culturally-significant art from Germany by an American soldier.  

The Quedlinburg Abbey survived the war unscathed--the town was famous for its flowers, not its armiment manufacturing, so it escaped Allied bombing raids--with its famous Treausre hidden in a cave for safekeeping from the bombs that never came--and the marauding soldiers who did.  About a dozen artifacts, including an ancient illuminated manuscript that historians and art auction experts evaluated at various figures well from $10,000,00 and up, turned up missing while under watch by U. S. soldiers--and disappeared from view for the next four decades.  

Then, based on a casual tip backed by a persistent young German researcher, Honan, an N. Y. Times reporter, began researching and writing front-page stories about the theft and his detective search to uncover the artifacts and the thief.  This book brings together his reporting plus information from the various legal proceedings around the hunt into a fascinating detective story that ends up involving sex, ethics, international art-market intrigue, and karmic paybacks.  When his leads point to an obscure town in northeast Texas named Whitewright, things really get weird. Fun reading!

The book was published in 1997.  For an update on the proceedings check the wikipedia article on the thefts,

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