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The Medici Conspiracy: The Illicit Journey of Looted Antiquities-- From Italy's Tomb Raiders to the World's Greatest Museums Paperback – June 12, 2007
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"The Medici Conspiracy is not, as its title might suggest, an allusion to historical Florentine intrigue - though the tale is worthy of such a connection... Written like a detective story... the book is a thoroughly researched, pacey and accessible read." The Guardian "The Medici Conspiracy documents convincingly - indeed takes the lid off - the extraordinary way that some of the world's most famous museums, aided by some of the most prominent collectors, have paid corrupt dealers millions of dollars to obtain notable antiquities looted from ancient sites in Italy and beyond and then illegally exported... At times the tale is as complex as The Da Vinci Code, but this time the cast is composed of real characters. This is not fiction.... Watson and Todeschini have written a fascinating account of conspiracy and corruption in high places. It will rock the world of the complacent collectors who ask no questions. It shows how several museums have undermined their own reputations. And it is a rattling good read." The Evening Standard "Watson combines methodical research with the tension of a thriller and genuine passion for his subject." Scotland on Sunday "(B)rilliant... This real-life conspiracy should oust The Da Vinci Code from every bookshelf" New Scientist "(G)ripping... As a portrait of venality, The Medici Conspiracy is both shocking and compelling." The Observer "Reading almost like a thriller at times, this is an exciting expose of a huge criminal trade." Publishing News"
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Regrettably, and though many points are valid, and quite important, the author fails to balance any other point of view into his book. For instance, who else other then collectors is interested in antiquities and ancient art? Not many people I suspect expect a few students of art history and archeology. Another overlooked point is that collecting basically preceded modern organized archeology and that museums were basically formed only in the last two centuries and basically did not exist in their modern forms when tomb raiding was already an old trade. Another omission that mertis a discussion, is that these high profile cases obscure frequently overlooked fact, and that museums only display a fraction of their collections, and at that only the best highlights, and that if it were not for the vast and sometimes not so impressive private collections, the hundred of thousands of antiquities in private hands would simply have nowhere to go, as no country and no insititution, collectively or individually, possess the resoures to store the,.
In conclusion, the author did a masterful investigative, if somewhat academic, job to recount the Medici criminal enterprise and successefully demonstrated why such an activity damages our knowledge of history, especially Greek and Roman, that are so crucial to our understanding of history. At the same time, the author's crusade against collectors and museums and his oine sided, unequivocal point of view opposing any private collecting of any sort of antiquities, cups and utensils included, lacks the objectivity that would make it a perfect study and results in some fascinating, entertaining, and iformative content to be followed by some uniteresting and tedious chapters.