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Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World's Richest Museum Hardcover – May 24, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
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"A thrilling, well-researched book that offers readers a glimpse into the back-room dealings of a world-class museum--and the illegal trade of looted antiquities. Chasing Aphrodite should not be missed. " –Ulrich Boser, author of THE GARDNER HEIST: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft
"Chasing Aphrodite is an epic story that, from the first page, grabs you by the lapels and won’t let go. Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino have penetrated the inner sanctum of one of the world’s most powerful museums, exposing how its caretakers – blinded by greed, arrogance and self-deception – eagerly tapped international networks of criminals in pursuit of the next great masterpiece. It is a breathtaking tale that I guarantee will keep you reading late into the night. - Kurt Eichenwald, author of CONSPIRACY OF FOOLS: A True Story
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Top Customer Reviews
The book was well written, fast paced, and hard to put down. The authors, reporters for the LA Times who led the investigation into the Getty Museum's misdeeds, present an almost incredible picture of greed, egotism and ambition. The Getty was blessed, or cursed, with an enormous amount of money to buy masterpieces. This led the curators into the murky underworld of illegal trade in antiquities. From the book, it's clear that the museum officials knew they were wrong to deal with the criminal underworld, but there was an issue that allowed them to save face. They believed they were saving the art from destruction. Ultimately, all they were doing was increasing the criminal activity of the looters.
I found the book completely fascinating. It gave me a glimpse of the underbelly of the art world I didn't realize existed. I literally couldn't put it down. I highly recommend the book to anyone who loves a good detective story. The authors present a shocking picture of what ambition can do to a supposedly ethical organization. Well worth the read.
I reviewed this book as part of the Amazon Vine Program.
This was a fascinating look into the issue surrounding the return of looted classical art work purchased by the Getty over the years. It is well written and develops a good chronological timeline as well as insight into the personalities involved that was not readily apparent if you read only the newspaper accounts. I would agree with most of the four- and five-star reviews here on Amazon.
For Kindle customers I have this to add: this digital edition is a disgrace; I have notified Amazon. There are numerous editing errors, none of the photos are included, and there was no indication until I got to the end of the text that there were interesting and informative notes. In the "Notes" section there were two types of indicators for the notes, some linked back to the text and some did not. Some notes were preceded with this symbol "[>]" in front of the note, which links back to the text; others merely had what appears to be a page number in front of the note but the number did not link back to the text nor did the digital edition provide page numbers! Truly a disappointment.
THe book is very well written, essentially as investigative journalism. It is thoroughly researched, well written, and will plunge you into the lives of the museum workers who were actively performing misdeeds and the detectives (mostly Italian) trying to stop them. It is part mystery, part history, and 100% fun.
If you enjoy museums, or live in LA, or just want a great story, read this book. It is one of my favorite books from this year so far.
In this book, the intersection of the two is what is described ably and in a narrative that held my attention throughout the book. The people and insights the authors make made me really analyze just exactly who `owns' the great art we often see in great museums, and that also included modern paintings by famous authors, since many of these works were lifted during World War II and never returned.
This book starts with a fateful fishing trip in the Adriatic Sea, and goes through tax schemes; the endowment of a wealthy man who gave an art museum in death what he never wanted to purchase in life; the downfall of several dishonest people, and a statute that may be a legitimate work of art or a forgery. The book grabbed me from the first chapter and didn't lose my attention for a moment. The many twists and turns are filled with some pretty amazing revelations about the sterilized atmosphere of great museums. It is also a journey through how compromised ethics get people into trouble without realizing that taking short cuts can come back to haunt a person years later.
I truly enjoyed this book, and it is very well-written. It is a certainly fascinating subject, and the journalistic eye brought this story to life with descriptions of many interesting people involved in the intersection described above. A great read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinating blow by blow of the misadventures at the Getty Museum, its poor management & how one curator ultimately took a dive for the affair. Read morePublished 5 months ago by dickh
love this type of mystery...brings history and human nature full circlePublished 7 months ago by happy feet
Fascinating history of the way museums have collected antiquities from other countries, and how they are currently being dealt with - some being returned, some 'repatriated' and on... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Katy Bejarano
Interesting reporting on the subject of preserving and studying the treasures of antiquityPublished 9 months ago by Ben
A very thoroughly researched and fascinating account of what otherwise could have been a rather dry account of museum dealings. Ancient Greece and, especially, Italy came to life. Read morePublished 10 months ago by nasus
Thoroughly engrossing book. It confirms what I recall hearing about from my connected museum people. Anyone interested in antiquities should read this book.Published 10 months ago by Joel H. Roth
The stories of illegally excavated art investigated in this book span decades of smuggling, legal battles, and near constant prevarication on the part of museums. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Ava Lynn