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The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft Paperback – March 16, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (March 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061451843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061451843
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the early morning hours of March 18, 1990, thieves posing as cops entered Bostons Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and left with a haul unrivaled in the art world, including three Rembrandts and a Vermeer, valued today at $600 million. Boser, a contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report, turned amateur sleuth after the death of a legendary independent fine arts claims adjuster, Harold Smith, who was haunted by the Gardner robbery. Boser carried on Smiths work, pursuing leads as varied as James Whitey Bulgers Boston mob and the IRA. Along the way, he visited felons—including the notorious art thief Myles Connor—and Bob Wittman, the FBIs only art theft undercover agent. Bosers rousing account of his years spent collecting clues large and small is entertaining enough to make readers almost forget that, after 18 years, the paintings have still not been found: the museum is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to their return. Photos. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Boser has produced a captivating portrait of the world’s biggest unsolved art theft.” (Wall Street Journal)

“A vivid portrait of the high-stakes world of art crime.” (Associated Press)

“Ulrich Boser presents his solution to the [Gardner] mystery.” (Washington Post)

“Boser cracks the cold case of the art world’s greatest unsolved mystery.” (Vanity Fair)

“In The Gardner Heist, author Ulrich Boser offers a tantalizing whodunit as he embarks on an exhaustive search for the stolen masterpieces.” (Boston Globe)

“The book is a thrill.” (The Guardian)

“Now we read this. It looks like the largest theft since the Devil Rays took what should have been the Red Sox’s 2008 American League championship. I don’t know if those paintings ended up on eBay, but I do know they’re not onmy walls.” (Senator John Kerry)

“Boser’s rousing account of his years spent collecting clues large and smallis entertaining enough to make readers almost forget that, after 18 years,the paintings have still not been found.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Boser poetically contrasts the burning, almost unnatural desire art loversfeel for paintings with the cold reality that art theft is one of the easiestand most lucrative types of crime.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Artfully done... Grade: A Minus.” (Boston Herald)

“Boser’s book on it has the feel of a speedy ride down a mountain road spiked with hairpin turns. (Christian Science Monitor)

More About the Author

I write about social issues and am a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan think tank.

Prior to the Center, I was a contributing editor for U.S. News & World Report, special projects director for The Washington Post Express, and research coordinator for Education Week. My work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and many other publications.

In February 2009, HarperCollins published my criminal justice book The Gardner Heist, which examines the largest art heist in history, the 1990 theft of a dozen masterpieces from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The book tells the story behind the caper and highlights the growing problem of art crime, an estimated $6 billion black market, with more than 50,000 heists occurring worldwide each year.

The book received glowing reviews in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. "Captivating," said the Wall Street Journal. "Vivid," noted the Associated Press. "Boser has done a public service in exposing the real world of art theft: It isn't about glamour and culture -- it's about greed, violence and irreparable, maddening loss," wrote USA Today. The book spent almost six months on the Boston Globe best-seller list and became a national best-seller.

I'm currently working on a book about trust, and I can be reached at ulrich @