I received a free Kindle copy of this book courtesy of Net Galley and Penguin Viking, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus pages.
I requested this book because I have a keen interest in the events surrounding World War II. It is the first book by Anders Rydell that I have read.
This is a well written and researched book. It addresses the another of the lesser focused on travesties of the Third Reich – the destruction of any literature not deemed appropriate. The book The Monuments Men (which I have read) covered the more visible topic of the reappropriation of art during this time. I found The Book Thieves to be an equal and even more engaging and disturbing subject.
The subtitle of the book The Nazi Looting of Europe’s Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance amply describes the content of this book. It covers the history from the early days of the book burnings to the theft of many works, some important and some more sentimental in value, and the search for them since the war ended and the return to their rightful owners. The author does an excellent job of bringing this subject to life and giving it the exposure that it deserves.
I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in another of the atrocities that took place during World War II.