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.

It's the book the movie was based on. I really wanted to see the move, but couldn't get past my dislike of movies with George Clooney and/or Matt Damon.
A note about the movie: Among those leaked e-mails from Sony studios was one from Clooney (who directed as well as acted) apologizing for the movie not doing very well. My brother saw it on one of those "entertainment news" shows where they tried to make it seem like it was a bad thing, but my brother said: "If anything, it makes him seem like an even nicer guy than you hear about. that whole "gentleman George" thing,"

The book was interesting, if long & is one of those forgotten stories of World War 2 that more people should know about it. To that end, they have an official site about the real men (& women) behind the story. And there's a monuments men foundation to help preserve art that is in danger from armed conflicts today. they are also looking for info on missing cultural objects from WW2 & other wars.

I've read several books about little known or forgotten people & stories of WW2 & am convinced that if a movie studio just did movies about them, they could put out movies for at least a decade.

The Red Star: Deluxe Edition Volume 2

  • Sep. 18th, 2017 at 7:37 AM
The Red Star: Deluxe Edition Volume 2 by Christian Gossett

The continuing story -- to the end of the published issues. Spoilers ahead for the earlier volume.

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The Red Star: Deluxe Edition Volume 1

  • Sep. 17th, 2017 at 12:12 AM
The Red Star: Deluxe Edition Volume 1 by Christian Gossett

An alternative, magitech-based USSR and a disastrous battle. . .

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Captain Kidd has gone down in history as America's most ruthless buccaneer, fabulously rich, burying dozens of treasure chests up and down the eastern seaboard. But it turns out that most everyone, even many respected scholars, have the story all wrong. Captain William Kidd was no career cut-throat; he was a tough, successful New York sea captain who was hired to chase pirates. His three-year odyssey aboard the aptly named Adventure galley pitted him against arrogant Royal Navy commanders, jealous East India Company captains, storms, starvation, angry natives, and, above all, flesh-and-blood pirates.

A really interesting book about the pirate turned pirate hunter who wasn't as ruthless or had as much treasure as people thought.

After his time as a pirate in the Caribbean he settled in New York City, married a wealthy widow & became respectable. Through a chance meeting he is commissioned by William III of England to capture pirates in the Indian Ocean. Run-ins with the English Navy, his crew not being paid because they can't find any pirates & crossing paths with his old shipmate (& mutineer against Kidd) Robert Culliford lead to his eventual downfall.

the painted queen by e. peters & j. hess

  • Sep. 8th, 2017 at 7:16 PM
sadly this is the last amelia peobody novel as elizabeth peters passed in aug. 2013. also sadly, ms. peters had only started writing the final page at the time of her passing, but left a lot of notes which joan hess used to complete the novel. i don't know if any were on the story or dialogue or just on the background (the discovery & disappearance of the famous bust of queen nefertiti)

it reads like fan fiction. not very good fan fic either. characters are out of character or almost parodies of themselves. there's a pack of assassins running around in almost comical fashion & the peabody/emerson clan's enemy sethos (mater criminal & master of disguise) seems almost shoehorned in. frankly, i'm not sure i really cared for the character anyway.
titles of previous amelia peabody novels were randomly added to conversations for no good reason other than this is the 20th novel in the series. it's kind of like when all of those nods to previous bond movies were in die another day for the franchise's 40th anniversary. i very nearly stopped reading it. but i will bravely plowed though to the end.

i didn't notice a change to the avalon series by marion zimmer bradley after her passing. but maybe it's because; 1. diana l. paxson was her co-author on the last 3 before bradley passed. 2. i had not re-read the series at least twice like i have with the peabody series. 3. was not in the middle of yet another re-read of the series like i am with this one. 4. or a big fan of the avlaon series like i am with the peabody series.

tl;dr only read this novel if you want to complete the series. but it might disappoint fans of the amelia peabody novels.