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They were a gaggle of misfits—nerdy, old, bookish and sometimes pompous and abrasive. Yet the group of Allied soldiers nicknamed the Venus Fixers believed that saving Italy's culture—from bombing, from Göring's coffers, from careless soldiers—was an essential component of the war effort. Initially, it was the Italians who tried to find safe havens for the art, and then the job fell to the Venus Fixers, who performed triage after an area was secured by the military. In one harrowing tale, Brey describes how the Venus Fixers saved delicate manuscripts from being bulldozed along with rubble into the Arno. Often these artistic subversives were at odds with their own armies. In her first book, journalist and translator Brey isn't as skilled as one would like in bringing her soldiers to life on the page—a shame, given what a unique bunch they were and what an unusual task they had—but the book makes a strong case for what the Allies were fighting for in Italy: its history, and the artworks that continue to inspire us today. 8 pages of b&w illus. (Aug.)
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“Art and war come together in this superbly researched history that reveals how Italy’s Renaissance masterpieces were caught in the crossfire of World War II. Ilaria Dagnini Brey recounts how many of these works almost miraculously survived, and who we have to thank for saving them—a somewhat unlikely crew of art historians, scholars, and architects. She shows how their quiet courage stood between some of the world’s greatest treasures and a fate almost unbearable to contemplate.” —Ross King, author of Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture
“The Venus Fixers is an extraordinary story—tragic, poignant, and inspiring by turn. A must-read for anyone who recognizes that the mute victims of any country’s war are frequently its works of art, it brings to light a little-known and entirely absorbing aspect of World War II.” —Caroline P. Murphy, author of Murder of a Medici Princess
“Ilaria Dagnini Brey expertly recounts the race to protect masterpieces of art and architecture caught on the battlefront. Fascinating and brilliantly researched, The Venus Fixers is a story of Botticellis hidden in castles, the monuments officers’ heroism, and the art’s often narrow escape, played out against air strikes and looting, leveled churches and shattered frescoes.” —Cynthia Saltzman, author of Old Masters, New World: America’s Raid on Europe’s Great Pictures
“In this finely written and researched first book, full of anecdotes that will fascinate all art lovers, Ilaria Dagnini Brey adds wonderful insight and detail to the gripping story of the miraculous preservation of many of the world’s most treasured masterpieces during the Allied campaign in Italy. The heroes are the curators of Italy’s patrimony and the fabled monuments men attached to the Allied invasion forces, and Ms. Brey does them proud.” —Lynn H. Nicholas, author of The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War
Anything about the Monument Men is of interest to me since seeing the movie. I never knew they existed during the war, so this book was really interesting.Published 4 months ago by Ruth A. Miller
If this topic interests you, the book will certainly satisfy you. By no means a page turner, though...An understanding of Italian art helps.Published 7 months ago by scott m tatum
If Edsels book left you wanting more this book has it it brought the dangers of war to our history closer than ever.Published 7 months ago by Lindae
This is an amazing book. Better than Monument Men- the movie one. I have shared it with several people. It is a keeper book. Great research presented in a very readable way. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Dr, K. V. Hartigan
Great item, good service, awesome transaction. Thanks. A+Published 11 months ago by Patrice Carpenter
Interesting but rather involved in the beginning, a little hard to follow. Towards the middle to the end of the book it gets more exciting.Published 13 months ago by Polly Culp
The Venus Fixers is a fine companion to The Rape of Europa. This volume is academically sound with interesting anecdotal details that brings it alive. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Patricia White
I did not realize how close we came to losing so many works of great art during WWII, and that a group of officers had been designated to save and restore these priceless works of... Read morePublished 16 months ago by JMC