A True Story of Nazi Plunder and the Race to Recover the Crown Jewels of the Holy Roman Empire
Had Hitler succeeded in conquering Europe, he would have crowned himself Holy Roman Emperor. The Nazis had in their possession priceless artifacts that would give Hitler legitimacy in his subjects' eyes: the Crown Jewels of the Holy Roman Empire, including the Spear of Destiny, alleged to have pierced Christ's side at the Crucifixion. Looted from the royal treasury in Vienna, Austria, the Crown Jewels were hidden in a secret bunker deep beneath Nrnberg castle, known to few but Heinrich Himmler, his staff, and a captured German soldier whose family lived above it.
As luck would have it, the officer in charge of interrogating the soldier was First Lieutenant Walter Horn, art history professor. Following his report to General Patton, Horn would be assigned to recover this ancient treasure. Would he find it before covert Nazi agents could use it to revive the defeated regime?
>Based on recently discovered and previously unpublished documents and interviews with all remaining living participants, this is a tale that surpasses fiction: part thriller, part detective story, all true.
©2010 Sidney Kirkpatrick (P)2010 HighBridge Company
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This is one of the most engrossing books I've read in a long time. With all the fantastical stories floating around about the Nazis and their weird belief systems, it's easy to dismiss all of it as hokum. Kirkpatrick's thought-provoking exploration of the actual facts behind one aspect of Nazi mythology is truly a case of truth being stranger than fiction. My only complaint is the narrator's consistent mispronunciation of the name "Longinus" throughout the book--come on, in this day and age, it's just plain laziness not to check the pronunciation of proper names and places!! I'm still going with 5 stars, however, because the book itself is so good.
"Enjoyable, interesting and informative"
Good description mixed with the history of the relics from their first use through to the wrs that followed to their ultimate twisted minds of Nazi origins of the relics
Very clear and listenable
This is something to listen too especially to understand the twisted minds of the Nazi leadership
"Gripping and insightful"
This is not only an engrossing story, but it gives a unique insight into the Nazi mindset without resorting to simplistic, "good vs. evil" explanations. The book is worthwhile for the German medieval history alone, but the World War II element, the unusual military/art history detective story, elevate this book from interesting to fascinating and gripping.
I was left thinking about the power, and sometimes danger - of mythology, symbols, of real or illusory connectedness to a "glorious past" and "historic destiny" - long after listening to this. These are perhaps things we still need to be wary of today.
Charles Stransky's narration is flawless - he hits just the right tone, and it's easy to believe he is the voice of the German-American art historian turned military detective who is this book's real-life protagonist.
The book blends a personal story and a view into history very well. It touches on the mystical roots that were part of Nazi ideology without sensationalizing them, as some other books have done. It was fascinating to see the multiple meanings of some works of art. Also, the unstable period in Germany after their defeat in WW2 seems to contain many riveting stories.
This book gave a lot of insight into the demented mind and mission of Hitler. I found it hard to follow while driving. It has an incredible amount of detail. It is amazing that all of the Holy Relics were found and where they were found. I listened to this after reading the Monuments Men which was more about finding stolen art. Thank goodness for the devotion of the men charged with finding the art that the Nazis stole.
Blame Indiana Jones, but I have a fascination with art and artifacts. That's where this book comes in. This one recounts the recovery of treasures in the wake of the German surrender in 1945, including the reasons why the team was given only 3 weeks to do so, and some background on the stories behind the artifacts. By necessity, the author also discusses the reasons why these treasures were taken in the first place, which put in the context of history makes for interesting reading.
The author has made the Herculean decision of trying to cover this topic from as many directions as possible in an extremely limited time, and there is plenty of personal speculation to go along with massive info dump. Such will inevitably be the nature of the beast when dealing with subject matter of this sort. In spite of this, the narrative somehow manages to not become the tangled train wreck in could potentially be. It's not a straight line, but the meandering does have points to make if the reader can stay on the same page with what the author is trying to put forth. Most books of this kind are more than an little "out there," and this one stays reigned in and more scholarly by comparison. For those who like their history in one place, even if it's not nice and tidy, this one is worth the read for anyone so inclined towards the topic.
"A window into history"
Sidney Kirkpatric's book provides a wonderful window to the awful but surreal days in Nuremburg immediately after the Second World War when Germany was in a no-man's land between slaughter and rebuilding, when both sides were still trying to come to terms with the holocaust that had overtaken Germany. The vacuum was filled by an army of bureaucrats forced to turn a blind eye to the Nazi sympathies of many of the German civilian administrators they were working with. In the midst if all this we get an insight into the true, perverted but mystical nature if the Nazi cult - deliberately glossed over in the Nuremburg trials, and the almost magical importance of symbols to the Nazi elite.
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