100 books like Rescuing Da Vinci

By Robert M. Edsel,

Here are 100 books that Rescuing Da Vinci fans have personally recommended if you like Rescuing Da Vinci. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Lee Miller's War: Beyond D-Day

Judith Mackrell Author Of The Correspondents: Six Women Writers on the Front Lines of World War II

From my list on WW2 – but written by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

While I was child growing up in London, the war was a powerful presence in my life. It was there in the films we watched, in the comics my brothers read, and in my vague understanding of what it meant to be British. It was not a subject we ever studied at school and as an adult I’ve always felt frustrated by my inadequate knowledge of this world-changing conflict. When I first had the idea of writing about the six remarkable women who pioneered the way for female war journalists, it wasn’t just their personal stories that drew me in but the chance to learn more about WW2 itself.

Judith's book list on WW2 – but written by women

Judith Mackrell Why did Judith love this book?

Lee Miller was the most unlikely of war correspondents. As a fashion model for Condé Nast, a surrealist collaborator of Man Ray, and a celebrity New York photographer, world events never impacted much on her work. But when she moved to London to become a photojournalist for Vogue, she found her own special subject in the war. Among the highlights of this handsome collection is Miller’s vivid report of the battle for St Malo where, as the darling of the US 83rd Division, she and her camera were given unfettered access. No less compelling are her accounts of liberated Paris, her haunting photographs and descriptions of concentrations camps; and one of the most iconic images in this book is the photograph taken of Lee sitting naked in Hitler’s own bathtub as she scrubs off the filth and stink of Dachau. 

By Antony Penrose (editor),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lee Miller's War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lee Miller's work for Vogue from 1941-1945 sets her apart as a photographer and writer of extraordinary ability. The quality of her photography from the period has long been recognized as outstanding, and its full range is shown here, accompanied by her brilliant despatches. Starting with her first report from a field hospital soon after D-Day, the despatches and nearly 160 photographs show war-ravaged cities, buildings and landscapes, but above all they portray the war-resilient people - soldiers, leaders, medics, evacuees, prisoners of war, the wounded, the villains and the heroes. There is the raw edge of combat portrayed at…


Book cover of The World Aflame: The Long War, 1914-1945

C.F. Yetmen Author Of The Roses Underneath

From my list on photo books that tell stories of World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my “day job” I write about architecture, which means I often write about things I see in photos. When I began writing fiction, I continued using photos as inspiration and research. My novels are inspired by my family’s circumstances at the end of World War II and my fascination with the work of the Monuments Men. Photos show me details like a little girl playing with her doll under a sign that declares her building to be at risk of collapse, or a woman using the ruins of a building to hang out the wash. I love finding ways to use these elements in my writing.

C.F.'s book list on photo books that tell stories of World War II

C.F. Yetmen Why did C.F. love this book?

Colorized images are often controversial, and I never much liked them, but Marina Amaral’s amazing work changed my mind.  She is a master at thoughtful and surprisingly natural-looking colorizing and it’s amazing to me how our brains are so used to processing historical photos in black and white, as if the world really was colorless. The photos in this book, accompanied by the text by Dan Jones allow you to pick it up open to a random page, look and read and put it back down having learned something and viewed a scene you thought you know in a new light. Amaral is also one of my favorite follows on Twitter (@marinamaral2). That’s how I discovered her work.

By Dan Jones, Marina Amaral,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The World Aflame as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The events of the first and second world wars are brought to vivid, startling life thanks to Amaral's skill at colourising contemporary images' Observer

The epic, harrowing and world-changing story - in words and colourized images - of global conflict from the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand to the obliteration of Hiroshima by the dropping of the first atom bomb. The World Aflame embraces not only the total conflagrations of 1914-18 and 1939-45 and the international tensions, conflicting ideologies and malign economic forces that set them in train, but also the civil wars of the interwar period in Ireland…


Book cover of The Persecution of the Jews in Photographs: The Netherlands 1940-1945

C.F. Yetmen Author Of The Roses Underneath

From my list on photo books that tell stories of World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my “day job” I write about architecture, which means I often write about things I see in photos. When I began writing fiction, I continued using photos as inspiration and research. My novels are inspired by my family’s circumstances at the end of World War II and my fascination with the work of the Monuments Men. Photos show me details like a little girl playing with her doll under a sign that declares her building to be at risk of collapse, or a woman using the ruins of a building to hang out the wash. I love finding ways to use these elements in my writing.

C.F.'s book list on photo books that tell stories of World War II

C.F. Yetmen Why did C.F. love this book?

This book is the catalog of a 2019 exhibition of the same name. It’s a collection of 440 images that cover all facets of Jewish life in the Netherlands during the German occupation. What’s most interesting and compelling are the rare, so-called bystander photos that show what life under Nazi rule looked like for ordinary people going about their lives, both those who were persecuted and those who committed genocide, as well as those who witnessed it. While we can look into the faces of people knowing the horrors that were to come, seeing these images—weddings, dinners, strolls in the parkas a preface to the more familiar images of round-ups, transports, and concentration camps provides deeper insight into history. I revisit the photos in this book often.

By Rene Kok, Erik Somers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Persecution of the Jews in Photographs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Persecution of the Jews in Photographs, the Netherlands 1940-1945 is the first book of its kind on the subject. Both the professional photographers commissioned by the occupying forces and amateurs took moving photographs.

On 10 May 1940, the day of the German invasion, there were 140,000 Jewish inhabitants living in the Netherlands. The full extent of their terrible fate only became known after the war: at least 102,000 were murdered, died of mistreatment or were worked to death in the Nazi camps. This tragedy has had a profound effect on Dutch society.

Photographic archives and private collections were consulted…


Book cover of We Went Back: Photographs from Europe 1933-1956 by Chim

C.F. Yetmen Author Of The Roses Underneath

From my list on photo books that tell stories of World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my “day job” I write about architecture, which means I often write about things I see in photos. When I began writing fiction, I continued using photos as inspiration and research. My novels are inspired by my family’s circumstances at the end of World War II and my fascination with the work of the Monuments Men. Photos show me details like a little girl playing with her doll under a sign that declares her building to be at risk of collapse, or a woman using the ruins of a building to hang out the wash. I love finding ways to use these elements in my writing.

C.F.'s book list on photo books that tell stories of World War II

C.F. Yetmen Why did C.F. love this book?

Technically about World War II, this work covers Chim’s work depicting culture, politics, and life before and after the war, so the circumstances leading to conflict and its aftermath. Chim was the co-founder of Magnum Photos, so his contribution to photojournalism is immense, and his photos are beautifully lit and composed even as they capture fleeting moments: Polish school children waiting for a bus in the rain, a baby reaching for bread at a displaced person’s camp or a boy playing in the ruins of a bombed building. The book also includes later photos of celebrities and movie stars, which, when seen alongside his earlier work creates an interesting narrative of a world putting itself back together and once again seeking out joy and beauty.

By Cynthia Young,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Went Back as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Born Dawid Szymin in Warsaw, Chim began his career in the early 1930s photographing for leftist magazines in Paris. In 1936, one of these magazines, Regards, sent him to the frontlines of the civil war in Spain, along with comrades Robert Capa and Gerda Taro. Although war formed the backdrop of much of his reportage, Chim was an astute observer of twentieth-century European politics, social life, and culture, from the beginnings of the antifascist struggle to the rebuilding of countries ravaged by World War II. Like millions of other Europeans, Chim had suffered the pain of dislocation and the loss…


Book cover of The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History

Lauren Fogle Boyd Author Of The Altarpiece

From my list on art and culture during World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in this topic began because of a trip to a museum in 2008. I noticed that a painting had been removed from view and a small piece of paper was hanging on the wall where the painting had been. The paper explained that this piece was involved in a court case revolving around whether or not it had been stolen from its Jewish owner by the Nazis during World War II. Nazi cultural appropriation, looting, suppression, and destruction turned out to be one of the most fascinating stories of the entire war. The research for my historical novel took several years, but it allowed me to write a book based on the facts.

Lauren's book list on art and culture during World War II

Lauren Fogle Boyd Why did Lauren love this book?

Robert Edsel became fascinated by the story of art looting and preservation during WWII after living for a period in Florence. Being a wealthy businessman from Texas, he used his money to bring attention to the story of the men and women who fought to preserve art during WWII. He has written four books on the subject, but The Monuments Men is the most well-rounded and suitable for someone who is beginning to investigate this riveting slice of history. His book was made into a movie starring George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, and Matt Damon in 2014. 

By Robert M. Edsel,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Monuments Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a major film starring GEORGE CLOONEY, MATT DAMON, CATE BLANCHETT, BILL MURRAY, JOHN GOODMAN, HUGH BONNEVILLE, BOB BALABAN, JEAN DUJARDIN and DIMITRI LEONIDAS.
What if I told you that there was an epic story about World War II that has not been told, involving the most unlikely group of heroes?
What if I told you there was a group of men on the front lines who didn't carry machine guns or drive tanks; a new kind of soldier, one charged with saving, not destroying.
From caves to castles in a thrilling race against time, these men risked their lives…


Book cover of Goering's Man in Paris: The Story of a Nazi Art Plunderer and His World

Isabel Vincent Author Of Overture of Hope: Two Sisters' Daring Plan that Saved Opera's Jewish Stars from the Third Reich

From my list on heroes and anti-heroes in WW2 and the Holocaust.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became interested in the Holocaust and the Second World War during my senior year of high school. I took a literature class entitled “Man’s Inhumanity to Man,” which focused a great deal on the literature that emerged from the Holocaust. At the end of the year, I had the great honor to meet author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel who had actually read my essay (my teacher knew him, and gave it to him to read) and encouraged me to keep writing. I am fascinated by stories of survival and the quiet heroism that characterized women like Ida and Louise Cook.

Isabel's book list on heroes and anti-heroes in WW2 and the Holocaust

Isabel Vincent Why did Isabel love this book?

Hermann Goering’s art dealer was a Nazi stormtrooper with a PhD in art history and an athletic build. And Bruno Lohse always made sure the champagne was on ice whenever Hermann Goering arrived at Paris’ Jeu de Paume museum in order to examine the latest in stolen masterpieces.

Although Lohse was arrested after the war for his ties to the Nazi party and spent several years in prison in Germany and France, he was never convicted for his role in stealing art, and went on to make a good living as an art dealer in Munich after the war. Jonathan Petropoulos, a history professor at Claremont McKenna College and expert on the Holocaust, interviewed Lohse several times for this fascinating book.

By Jonathan Petropoulos,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Goering's Man in Paris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A charged biography of a notorious Nazi art plunderer and his career in the postwar art world

"[Petropoulos] brings Lohse into sharper focus, as a personality and axis point from which to explore a network of art dealers, collectors and museum curators connected to Nazi looting. . . . What emerges from Petropoulos's research is a portrait of a charismatic and nefarious figure who tainted everyone he touched."-Nina Siegal, New York Times

"Readers of art history and WWII biographies will appreciate this engrossing deep dive into one of the world's most prolific art looters."-Publishers Weekly

Bruno Lohse (1911-2007) was one…


Book cover of The Venus Fixers: The Remarkable Story of the Allied Monuments Officers Who Saved Italy's Art During World War II

Lauren Fogle Boyd Author Of The Altarpiece

From my list on art and culture during World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in this topic began because of a trip to a museum in 2008. I noticed that a painting had been removed from view and a small piece of paper was hanging on the wall where the painting had been. The paper explained that this piece was involved in a court case revolving around whether or not it had been stolen from its Jewish owner by the Nazis during World War II. Nazi cultural appropriation, looting, suppression, and destruction turned out to be one of the most fascinating stories of the entire war. The research for my historical novel took several years, but it allowed me to write a book based on the facts.

Lauren's book list on art and culture during World War II

Lauren Fogle Boyd Why did Lauren love this book?

Dagnini’s book focuses specifically on Italy and the amazing stories of Rome, Naples, Florence, and Pisa among others. If you love Italian art and architecture, you will not be able to put this book down. Descriptions of the damage, but also how it was fixed and avoided in some cases, are truly inspiring. Without these Allied personnel, so much more could have been lost.

By Ilaria Dagnini Brey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Venus Fixers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1943, while the world was convulsed by war, a few visionaries -- in the private sector and in the military -- committed to protect Europe's cultural heritage from the indiscriminate ravages of World War II.

In the midst of the conflict, the Allied Forces appointed the monuments officers―a motley group of art historians, curators, architects, and artists―to ensure that the great masterworks of European art and architecture were not looted or bombed into oblivion. The journalist Ilaria Dagnini Brey focuses her spellbinding account on the monuments officers of Italy, quickly dubbed "the Venus Fixers" by bemused troops.

Working on…


Book cover of Woman on Fire

Lisa Niver Author Of Brave-ish: One Breakup, Six Continents, and Feeling Fearless After Fifty

From my list on making flight time disappear because you feel in the story.

Why am I passionate about this?

As both a lifelong traveler and reader, I cannot start an adventure without a great book. Having owned a Kindle since 2008, I consistently carry a virtual library, curating an assortment of captivating reads for every journey. As a travel journalist, I fly multiple times a month, which amplifies my need and understanding of the perfect in-flight companions; stories that transport and captivate. As an author with a memoir to my name, I appreciate the transformative power of storytelling. This blend of literary passion, frequent travel, and personal authorship has led me on my search for engaging, unforgettable books that mesmerize the reader.  

Lisa's book list on making flight time disappear because you feel in the story

Lisa Niver Why did Lisa love this book?

I could not put down Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr.

This book is a captivating tale of passion, history, and mystery. Set against the backdrop of 1940s Chicago and war-torn Europe, the novel follows the journey of a resilient journalist navigating love and espionage.

Barr's evocative prose and meticulous research transport readers to a bygone era, creating a rich tapestry of emotions. The intricate blend of romance and suspense ensures a thrilling reading experience perfectly suited for the transient nature of air travel.

As you glide through the clouds, let the pages of this book transport you to a riveting tale of love, courage, and intrigue, making your journey truly unforgettable. 

By Lisa Barr,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Woman on Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, SOON TO BE A MOVIE PRODUCED BY AND STARRING SHARON STONE A BUZZFEED MUST-READ FOR 2022

A young journalist embroiled in an international art scandal centred around a Nazi-looted masterpiece, forcing the ultimate showdown between passion and possession, lovers and liars, history and truth.

After talking her way into a job in Chicago, young journalist Jules Roth is given an unusual assignment: locate a painting stolen by the Nazis more than 75 years ago. The painting? None other than legendary artist Ernst Engel's most famous work, Woman on Fire. A dying designer covets the portrait…


Book cover of Loot

Shelley Costa Author Of A Killer's Guide to Good Works

From my list on where great art leads to even greater crimes.

Why am I passionate about this?

One of the advantages of growing up in New Jersey is the proximity to the museums in New York City. What great school field trips! And I really believe that’s where my love for art and history began. My cathedrals are art museums, great libraries, Civil War battlefields, wilderness shorelines – experiencing these places lifts me out of the dailiness of life, reminds me of struggle, greatness, and excellence. I guess it was just a matter of time before my sweet spot as a writer and reader is the point of intersection between great art and terrible crimes. Things worth writing about. 

Shelley's book list on where great art leads to even greater crimes

Shelley Costa Why did Shelley love this book?

When a famous stolen Velazquez painting from a truck that went missing back in 1945 turns up in present-day Boston, this fast-paced thriller to recover the rest of the “loot” begins. By me, a girl can’t have too many stories about the infamous Nazi theft of priceless art during WWII. The set-up for this kind of tale is just about the opposite of the intimate crimes in a closed community of “stranded” victims and suspects, which I also really like. Here it’s a big canvas: many works of art stolen during wartime by armies (sometimes during the grunt work, with masterminds off planning). It’s the scope of the art crimes themselves that is so compelling – whole swaths of cultural history disappearing from view. These are enormous crimes with dire implications – even before the murders begin. Loot is the kind of story that slams my heart (in a good…

By Aaron Elkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Loot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A long-lost painting stolen by the Nazis turns up at a Boston pawnshop-and leads to a string of murders-in this "fast-paced and tightly written thriller" (The Seattle Times).

In April 1945, the Nazis, reeling and near defeat, frantically work to hide the huge store of art treasures that Hitler has looted from Europe. Truck convoys loaded with the cultural wealth of the Western world pour in an unending stream into the compound of the vast Altaussee salt mine high in the Austrian Alps. But with the Allies closing in, the vaunted efficiency of the Nazis has broken down. At Altaussee,…


Book cover of Restitution: A Family's Fight for Their Heritage Lost in the Holocaust

John R. Cammidge Author Of Abandoned in Berlin: A True Story

From my list on describing restitution experiences after WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

World War 2 has always interested me and my curiosity was strengthened a few years ago when my mother told me I was born illegitimate and my father had been the civil engineer building a nearby bomber airfield and a lodger with her parents. She was ashamed of what happened and lost contact with my father before I was born. Consequently, I wrote my first novel Unplanned. I then met the daughter of the Berlin mother in Abandoned in Berlin, and found it natural to pursue this story, given what I had discovered about my own upbringing. The effort has taught me to seek to forgive but never to forget.

John's book list on describing restitution experiences after WW2

John R. Cammidge Why did John love this book?

This is a story of retrieving fine art from Prague and returning it to its rightful owners in Canada. Four paintings were left in the care of a friend when the Reeser family fled Czechoslovakia as Hitler’s army arrived on March 15, 1939. For 50 years, the family was denied access to their property. Here is an account of determination and love that combines accurate descriptions of history with fictional speculation on how the paintings were retrieved. The Reeser family was fortunate to know what they had and where it was.

I enjoyed the plot in this book and the persistence of the protagonists. It is gratifying to read a story where a family who lost everything at the start of the War, persevered to become reunited with the family treasures once Communism fell in Eastern Europe. The story blends accurate history with imaginative fiction, making it a delight to…

By Kathy Kacer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Restitution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of the Reesers, a Jewish family who emigrated to Canada from Czechoslovakia on the eve of WWII. They fled the Nazis and left behind four valuable oil paintings. It would take years for the Reeser family, led by matriarch Mari Reeser, and then her son Karl, to retrieve them. Along the way they had help from two unlikely sources - a mid-level diplomat at the Canadian embassy in Prague, and a daring Dutch-Canadian art smuggler.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in art theft, Germany, and looting?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about art theft, Germany, and looting.

Art Theft Explore 44 books about art theft
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Looting Explore 15 books about looting