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Stolen, Smuggled Sold: On the Hunt for Cultural Treasures

Cover: 'Stolen, Smuggled Sold: On the Hunt for Cultural Treasures'

Staff Review: "Stolen, Smuggled Sold: On the Hunt for Cultural Treasures" by Nancy Moses


Moses is a woman intimately familiar with museums and the world of art. In this book she explores the rather shadowy world of art, ownership by individuals and museums, and acquisitions of spectacularly famous and valuable items under sometimes questionable methods. The book is divided into eight separate chapters covering the discovery, ownership, disappearance, and efforts to return oft times historic, cultural and artistic icons to their rightful owners. Each chapter reads like a mystery involving facts, emotion, and real people (both honest and otherwise), ethics, detective work and questions about what is right and proper in the ultimate disposition of these often priceless artifacts. From Klimt’s famous painting, (featured in the recent motion picture "Woman in Gold") which was one of thousands stolen by Hitler, to a ceremonial Lakota Ghost Dance tunic, to the (possible) mummy of Egyptian pharaoh Ramses I, and even a stolen recording of Babe Ruth’s voice from the National Archives, the reader is taken on fascinating journeys of who, what, when, and how these objects traveled through various “owners,” some legitimate and others not. If you like “who dun its” this is an engrossing read.

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, printz award winner, award-winning

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