Saving Art Treasures from the Nasty Nazis

I listened to the abridged audio version of The Monuments Men and learned something I didn’t know about World War II—something that has only happened once in history where a dedicated military team was organized [thanks to President F. D. Roosevelt] by the allies in World War II to save as much of the art looted by the Nazis as possible.

I first heard of The Monuments Men at the theater during all those [soon-to-appear] movie trailers before you get to watch the film you paid to see. Because I usually see a film at the local theater at least once a week, I’ve seen The Monuments Men trailer a number of times, and I admit that I’m eager to see the film.

Overview lifted from Barnes and Noble

“At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: ‘degenerate’ works he despised.

“In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world’s great art from the Nazis.” (Barnes and Noble: Overview)

The film is scheduled to release February 7, 2014. Thanks to Costco—where I bought the audio book—I ended up listening to the book first. As I was listening, I thought I’d be ready to recognize when Hollywood’s version drifted from the facts—but maybe not. In case you didn’t know, Hollywood’s famous for revising history and true stories.

When I bought the CD’s at Costco, I had no idea it was an abridged version only 7.5 hours long. I usually avoid abridged versions but the fact that it was abridged wasn’t printed anywhere I could easily find. Publishers must know this and they are getting tricky just like Monsanto wants to hide the fact that the food we eat might be genetically modified by them. (

I wanted to know how much I may have missed and discovered that audiobooks usually run 150-160 words per minute, the range people comfortably hear and vocalize words. I then dragged a few hardcover books off the bookshelf and came up with about 400 words a page. That means the 512 page Monuments Men hardcover probably has at least 205,000 words—equal to about 21 hours for an audio book.

Wow, that was a lot of story to miss out on, and I was disappointed.

But I did listen to the 7.5 hours and still enjoyed the story. The only full length audio version I found was sold by Barnes & Noble.

I guess it depends on what you want. If you’re willing to settle for the abridged audio version and miss two-thirds of the story, it’s probably worth the cost.

The full-length audio version at Barnes & was listed at $19.08 when I checked (with a 17% price reduction from the original $22.99). I checked Amazon and they’re asking $6.89 for the Kindle; $22.37 for the Hardcover and $9.85 for the paperback.


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

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