The Book Thieves, by Anders Rydell

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

The Book Thieves was an impulse loan from the library.  I’d heard a lot about the Nazi theft of artworks and their burning of books, but I knew nothing about the systematic theft of books…

But it takes only a moment’s thought to realise that of course there would have been precious collections of books all over Europe, and of course they would have been looted by the Germans, just as the precious artworks and other collectibles were.  Invaders have always looted the possessions of the vanquished, and all the major museums of the world have treasures that originally belonged elsewhere.  In some cases, perversely, that’s turned out to be a good thing: many of Afghanistan’s ancient treasures were smuggled out of the destructive hands of the Taliban and even if they’re in the hands of private collectors now, at least they still exist.  OTOH in the case of…

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