I recently interviewed author of The Monuments Men, Rescuing d Vinci and Saving Italy, Robert M. Edsel. The interview was part of a show, “World War II, The Untold Stories.”
Not only is Robert Edsel the author of these three fine works, but also the co-producer of the award-winning documentary film The Rape of Europa. Robert Edsel is also the founder and president of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, a recipient of the National Humanities Medal, and a trustee at the National WW II Museum.
Now Edsel’s The Monuments Men has been turned into a film of the same name produced, directed and starring George Clooney. Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, the film is an action drama focusing on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by FDR with going into Nazi-controlled Germany, and rescuing artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves, and returning them to their rightful owners. It would be an impossible mission: with the art trapped behind enemy lines, and with the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these guys – seven museum directors, curators, and art historians, all more familiar with Michelangelo than the M-1 – possibly hope to succeed? But as the Monuments Men, as they were called, found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankind’s greatest achievements.
Who is Robert M. Edsel and how did he come upon this little known story of World War II? Listen to my interview with Robert M. Edsel on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show Podcast. Edsel, you’ll discover, is as fascinating a man as the tale he tells.