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Thieves of Baghdad Hardcover – October 26, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition edition (October 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582346453
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582346458
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #632,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In April 2003, Matthew Bogdanos was a long way from the courtrooms of New York City where, as an assistant D.A., he prosecuted hundreds of cases. After September 11, 2001, this Marine Corps Reserve colonel, lawyer and student of ancient civilizations, returned to uniform full-time to head counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan and later in Iraq, where Bogdanos gave himself the mission of finding antiquities that had been stolen from the Iraq National Museum during the American invasion. Beginning with an Indiana Jones-like opening that finds him in the museum's bowels, Bogdanos chronicles a journey fueled by his passion for history and frustrated by erratic record-keeping and factionalism among Iraqis, not to mention the hazards of warfare. The son of Greek immigrants who went on to achieve advanced degrees in law and classical studies, Bogdanos weaves together a detective story, adventure yarn and history lesson, committing himself to the investigation of stolen artifacts and reflecting what he deems rumor and exaggeration among the media coverage and academics who claimed irrevocable archeological tragedy. Indeed, some pieces, he discovers, were moved and protected prior to the U.S. invasion, while others were housed by Iraqis for safekeeping until after the war. Bogdanos is a remarkable blend of warrior, academic and communicator, and he cuts through politics and hyperbole to tell an engrossing story abundant with history, colored by stories of brave Iraqis and Americans, and shaded with hope for the future.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–A riveting, dramatically paced tale. Returning to active military duty after 9/11 to serve in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Bogdanos was involved with counterterrorism units prior to being selected to head an unprecedented multiagency team tasked with tracking down and safeguarding stolen antiquities. His infantry training, profession as a lawyer (he earned the nickname Pit Bull in the Manhattan DAs office), and advanced degree in the classics qualified him to lead a team of trigger pullers, analysts, translators, and techies through the museums 11-acre complex of buildings and storerooms. Working with staff who lacked even an approximate inventory, his group pursued its mission within a hostile landscape embroiled in the chaos of modern warfare. There is YA appeal in the books forensic themes and crime-scene analysis, a compelling urgency to the band-of-brothers teamwork within the tightly knit task force, and much to relish in vivid passages devoted to the artistic and cultural heritage of Mesopotamia. With refreshing candor, Bogdanos appraises the difficulties of diplomacy, intelligence gathering, and dealing with the media in a combat zone, and assesses formidable obstacles to international prosecution of illicit cross-border trafficking. Quotations from Greek, Latin, and German philosophers and English literature add linguistic appeal. Sixteen pages of color photos lend depth to readers sense of the artwork and destruction at the museum and complement the strong personalities described in the narrative.–Lynn Nutwell, Fairfax City Regional Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

I love to read non-fiction and this is a book that read like a novel.
C. A. Thornton
The book is very intelligently written -- no dumbing down here -- and I appreciate that.
John Michael Albert
I'm not sure how much of a part Mr. Patrick had in the writing of this book.
Robert W. Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Bryan on January 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be absolutely riveting. I took it on a business trip, and couldn't put it down! This book gives you and up close and detailed look at the team assembled to investigate and recover antiquities stolen from the museum in Baghdad. I found it refreshing to read an account written by the head of the team, who could capably give an accurate account. Too often, authors who "weren't there" write books based solely upon the accounts of others. That certainly isn't the case here. You won't be disappointed!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Brosamj on April 9, 2007
Matthew Bogdanos' Thieves of Baghdad is an interesting novel of the robbings of museums in Iraq. His story keeps the reader interested in seeing the other side of the war in Iraq, that being what happened to the history of Iraq. Bogdanos takes us in to the museums and shows us what happened with looters, professional thieves and a misguided media trying to report what had happened.

When you think of war, you rarely think of robberies as being able to tell part of the story. Bogdanos makes a compelling argument of the importance of a country's history and artifacts in helping a country rebuild its identity. He takes in to these museums as they try and retrace what happened and what was stolen (often hard to tell due to poor record keeping) and who would have stolen it. Though normal citizens often did some of the stealing, Bogdanos shows how he was able to determine that many of these robberies were either inside jobs or by professional thieves.

He tells of stories of how the media was quick to jump on stories with grossly inaccurate numbers of some of the robberies (media reported over 100K artifacts stolen when that numbers was grossly inflated by tens of thousands) due to incompetence or another agenda. He tells of stories of mistrust between museum bureaucrats and the US marines that were trying to help them get their artifacts back. Compelling stuff.

The story though often gets bogged down by Bodanos and his need to 'boast.' He makes it clear throughout that he is telling the story of the marines and the good work that they did and that this was not a story about himself, but disproves that argument by his countless references to how much people appreciated him and his commitment to serve his country and risk his life to help the Iraq community.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Edward H. Dalessandro on February 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Colonel Bogdanos is a warrior, a police officer and a historian all in one. He is the real life incarnation of Jack Ryan. "The Thieves of Baghdad" reads like a novel, however, it gives us a glimpse of the life of a true hero. If you want to know how it felt to be there, read this book. Bogdanos is what I call "Good People".

Ed d'Alessandro

NYPD Emergency Service Unit, Retired
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Demetrious Mccarthy on January 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
truth is stranger that fiction, is also more compelling! This isn't something that might happen it did. All the usual catch frases apply a page turner, couldn't put it down apply, but the fact is that this is real it is history that is unfolding even now and it is our history in the making. It's not history we studied in books but saw on the news in a depth and reality that a 3 minute news story can't hope to reach
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Bornus on October 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is an interesting account of how Bogdanos, a Marine Reservist working as a district attorney/prosecutor in New York, enters active duty with the Marines and goes to Iraq. Along the way we hear of his personal experience on 9/11 as he goes to work and then tries to re-unite with his wife and young children on that harrowing day, and later helps with the recovery effort.

Bogdanos weaves narratives from ancient history along with modern-day combat details and tactical scenes from his personal experience during the war. He combines military expertise with his personal background as a prosecutor and criminal investigator, and his college studies in antiquities and ancient culture. As such he is uniquely qualified to conduct these investigations, and help his compatriots appreciate the significance of "some rocks" that they are trying to recover.

Bogdanos takes personal initiative to go to the Iraq Museum in Baghdad and investigate the "looting." In the process we get to learn about the museum and its staff, along with detailed schematics of the facility. Bodganos' investigation has elements of a criminal investigation and an archealogical reconstruction, as they search the museum along with the many-nuanced workplace culture of the Iraqi staff, some of whom may have been facilitating the "looting" or "hiding things for safekeeping" depending on who you believe.

In the end, Bogdanos records the numbers on what was found to be missing and what was recovered, revealing that initial media reports were wildly inaccurate when they gave the impression that the museum was cleaned out. In fact, little was taken, and much recovered (although a few important items are still missing).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. Smith VINE VOICE on November 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed Colonel Bogdanos' book, "Thieves of Baghdad". I think that the book is well written. He includes background for the text and expands on premises, as needed, although he goes into detail about topics not related to the topic of the book. This was page-turning and quite compelling. I'm not sure how much of a part Mr. Patrick had in the writing of this book. I got a little annoyed with the author's self-glorification. Of course, I also must say that he is more of a hero and leader than I'd ever dream of being. Questions about the theft of the Baghdad Museum remain to be fully answered years now after the act. This book, however, provides the curious reader with a very good step toward finding out the truth, although, I believe, the topic may benefit from longer term follow-up by another source in years to come.
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