Once upon a time and not so many moons ago (after my Civil War discussion group’s trip to follow Lee’s Retreat), I was temping in Alexandria, Virginia and would spend my lunch breaks wandering around the neighborhood. There were a lot of eateries and a Whole Foods nearby, but when the allure of eating out wore off, I had to expand my wandering radius, and it’s a good thing I did because I discovered Alexandria National Cemetery.
Talk about a hidden gem!
Holy cow! I’m so glad I discovered this place. Overshadowed by its much bigger, more famous sister Arlington National Cemetery (located less than ten miles away), I had never heard of it, but being my parents’ daughter, I spent almost every subsequent lunch break there, walking the rows of headstones and reading the names.
On Saturday evening, my brain hit a wall with homework. I was sick and tired of staring at a screen and doing homework so … I located The Monuments Men movie online and watched it. By staring at a screen. C’est la vie.
As previously stated, this movie was based off of the book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History which was written by Robert Edsel back in 2010. I highly recommend the book for a number of reasons. For one, Edsel is not a scholar so his writing has much more of a narrative flow than most history books. There are even scenes in the book that so moved him or amused him that he recreated dialogue between the various characters to better set the scene. In his first foray into this fascinating topic, Rescuing Da Vinci: Hitler and the Nazis Stole Europe’s Great Art – America and Her Allies Recovered It (whew! what a mouthful!), Edsel successfully framed the entirety of World War II as Hitler’s desire to acquire all the arts, and the Monuments Men book expands on that, with more words and less pictures.