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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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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 on my walls.” (Senator John Kerry)
“Boser’s 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.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Boser poetically contrasts the burning, almost unnatural desire art lovers feel for paintings with the cold reality that art theft is one of the easiest and most lucrative types of crime.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Artfully done... Grade: A Minus.” (Boston Herald)
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Top customer reviews
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Several of our members want to read more about the founder as she seemed like an original character. Reaction to this book among the group varied. Some of the issues folks had with the book is they felt the author "flitted around" a bit. And they felt some of the promotional claims promised more than the book delivered. However, it was a good book group read as several of us had been to the Stewart and didn't know the full story. It made others want to visit the museum.
The book provided some insight into the museum world and the issues they have with funding and security. It provoked lively discussion on a variety of issues. It was a pleasant choice for a non-fiction book group when you want a break from heavy historical reading. We all agreed that the author's text is lively and readable. It's an accessible book. The latest news last month was the authorities know the identity of the thieves - perhaps because of the Whitey Bulgur trial? We hope the art will be recovered soon and in a condition that it can be restored and resume its rightful place on the Gardner museum walls.
In this book, the author examines the potential local elements often attributed to the crime, and navigates the murky waters of speculation as to "who done it". Suburban criminals, local mafia chieftains, and legendary figures in the New England burglary world are all weighed and measured.
For anyone with any love of art, interest in true crime, or student of Bostonian culture as a hot bed for "crime as a career", this book is insightful, entertaining, and thought provoking. By the end, the reader will think they solved the crime, and within an hour after that they will realize they feel like every FBI agent who ever worked the case......frustrated because they are confident without conviction.
A near brilliant book.
For me, it waited until the end to display a lack of good research, and in so doing, diminished the importance of all that preceded it.
It was surprising to me that so many underworld figures seem to be involved in this particular crime, and I have no reason to believe it is any different for other art crimes.
It's surprising and sad that 20 years on, there is still no real clue as to where these paintings are. I hope this book pushes museums to get out of the mindset that art heists cannot happen to them, and to make security a top priority. Although none of us want to enter a fortress when we go to a museum, that may be the only way to ensure that masterpieces will still be there for future generations.
Most recent customer reviews
This one has a lot going for it, on all levels. The writing itself is clean and functional, with a good, intelligent narrative that works well...Read more