100 books like The Faustian Bargain

By Jonathan Petropoulos,

Here are 100 books that The Faustian Bargain fans have personally recommended if you like The Faustian Bargain. 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 Stealing the Mystic Lamb

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?

Noah Charney is an art historian and has written several interesting books that I have read. Even though this book, Stealing the Mystic Lamb, came out too late for my novel, the “altarpiece” of my book is in fact the “Mystic Lamb” otherwise known as the Ghent Altarpiece. My quasi-obsession with this monumental piece of art is matched by Charney and he describes how often it has been stolen and nearly destroyed. No other piece of art has had a history quite like this one. 

By Noah Charney,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Stealing the Mystic Lamb as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jan van Eyck's Ghent Altarpiece is on any art historian's list of the ten most important paintings ever made. It is also the most frequently stolen artwork of all time. Since its completion in 1432, this twelve-panel oil painting has been looted in three different wars, burned, dismembered, forged, smuggled, censored, hidden, attacked by iconoclasts, hunted by the Nazis and Napoleon, used as a diplomatic tool, ransomed, rescued by Austrian double-agents, and stolen a total of thirteen times. In this fast-paced, real-life thriller, art historian Noah Charney unravels the fascinating stories of each of these thefts. Charney also explores psychological…


Book cover of Art, Ideology, and Economics in Nazi Germany: The Reich Chambers of Music, Theater, and the Visual Arts

Gregory Maertz Author Of Nostalgia for the Future: Modernism and Heterogeneity in the Visual Arts of Nazi Germany

From my list on art and aesthetics in Nazi Germany.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of English and Visual Culture at St. John’s University in New York. My research in recent years has focused on reexamining the fate of modernist art in Hitler’s Germany. I have chosen five books that have shaped our understanding of Nazi art and have new resonance with the present resurgence of fascism and authoritarian governments around the world.

Gregory's book list on art and aesthetics in Nazi Germany

Gregory Maertz Why did Gregory love this book?

This is one of the most influential studies of cultural politics in Nazi Germany which takes as its focus the bureaucracy Joseph Goebbels charged with integrating pre-National Socialist artists and their organizations into the new cultural and political order. Noteworthy, of course, throughout Steinweis’s masterpiece of institutional reconstruction, is the revelation that National Socialist aesthetic preferences were not novel but represented the appropriation of the prevailing conservative taste dominant in the late Weimar Republic.

By Alan E. Steinweis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Art, Ideology, and Economics in Nazi Germany as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From 1933 to 1945, the Reich Chamber of Culture exercised a profound influence over hundreds of thousands of German artists and entertainers. Alan Steinweis focuses on the fields of music, theatre and the visual arts in this study of Nazi cultural administration, examining a complex pattern of interaction among leading Nazi figures, German cultural functionaries, ordinary artists, and consumers of culture. Steinweis gives special attention to Nazi efforts to purge the arts of Jews and other so-called undesirables.


Book cover of The Cult of Art in Nazi Germany

Gregory Maertz Author Of Nostalgia for the Future: Modernism and Heterogeneity in the Visual Arts of Nazi Germany

From my list on art and aesthetics in Nazi Germany.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of English and Visual Culture at St. John’s University in New York. My research in recent years has focused on reexamining the fate of modernist art in Hitler’s Germany. I have chosen five books that have shaped our understanding of Nazi art and have new resonance with the present resurgence of fascism and authoritarian governments around the world.

Gregory's book list on art and aesthetics in Nazi Germany

Gregory Maertz Why did Gregory love this book?

A superb English translation has transformed Michaud’s Un Art de L’Éternité into a classic study of the ultimate purpose of Nazi aesthetics: to convert depictions of present reality in Hitler’s Germany into enduring images of National Socialism’s aspiration to generate aesthetic values that would last an eternity. In addition, Michaud argues persuasively how art was central to Nazi ideology.

By Eric Michaud, Janet Lloyd (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cult of Art in Nazi Germany as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Cult of Art in Nazi Germany presents a new interpretation of National Socialism, arguing that art in the Third Reich was not simply an instrument of the regime, but actually became a source of the racist politics upon which its ideology was founded. Through the myth of the "Aryan race," a race pronounced superior because it alone creates culture, Nazism asserted art as the sole raison d'etre of a regime defined by Hitler as the "dictatorship of genius." Michaud shows the important link between the religious nature of Nazi art and the political movement, revealing that in Nazi Germany…


Book cover of Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture, and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich

Richard Wolin Author Of Heidegger in Ruins: Between Philosophy and Ideology

From my list on intellectuals and fascism.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a graduate student during the late 1970s, my mentor, Martin Jay, generously introduced me to two members of the Frankfurt School: Herbert Marcuse and Leo Lowenthal. These memorable personal encounters inspired me to write a dissertation on Walter Benjamin, who was closely allied with the Frankfurt School. The completed dissertation, Walter Benjamin: An Aesthetic of Redemption, became the first book on Benjamin in English and is still in print. The Frankfurt School thinkers published a series of pioneering socio-psychological treatises on political authoritarianism: The Authoritarian Personality, Prophets of Deceit, and One-Dimensional Man. These studies continue to provide an indispensable conceptual framework for understanding the contemporary reemergence of fascist political forms.

Richard's book list on intellectuals and fascism

Richard Wolin Why did Richard love this book?

When I first read Herf’s book during the 1990s, it totally transformed my understanding of National Socialism’s attitude toward technology and modernity.

Prior to its publication, Nazism was commonly perceived as anti-modern and anti-technological: as aspiring toward a vaguely defined pre-modern, martial-communitarian dystopia. Conversely, Herf shows that Nazism concertedly sought to integrate technological modernity within the movement’s militaristic, pan-German ideological framework. Here, the effusive expression employed by Goebbels to describe Nazism’s hypertrophic pro-technological enthusiasms, “steely romanticism,” says it all!

In this respect, Ernst Jünger’s allegorical glorification of totalitarian militarism in The Worker (Der Arbeiter) was paradigmatic. 

By Jeffrey Herf,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Reactionary Modernism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a unique application of critical theory to the study of the role of ideology in politics, Jeffrey Herf explores the paradox inherent in the German fascists' rejection of the rationalism of the Enlightenment while fully embracing modern technology. He documents evidence of a cultural tradition he calls 'reactionary modernism' found in the writings of German engineers and of the major intellectuals of the. Weimar right: Ernst Juenger, Oswald Spengler, Werner Sombart, Hans Freyer, Carl Schmitt, and Martin Heidegger. The book shows how German nationalism and later National Socialism created what Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda minister, called the 'steel-like romanticism…


Book cover of Totalitarian Art: In the Soviet Union, the Third Reich, Fascist Italy and the People's Republic of China

Gregory Maertz Author Of Nostalgia for the Future: Modernism and Heterogeneity in the Visual Arts of Nazi Germany

From my list on art and aesthetics in Nazi Germany.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of English and Visual Culture at St. John’s University in New York. My research in recent years has focused on reexamining the fate of modernist art in Hitler’s Germany. I have chosen five books that have shaped our understanding of Nazi art and have new resonance with the present resurgence of fascism and authoritarian governments around the world.

Gregory's book list on art and aesthetics in Nazi Germany

Gregory Maertz Why did Gregory love this book?

Rich in illustrations, ambitious in scope, and still relevant despite having been written in the pre-perestroika Soviet Union, Golomstock makes his four-way comparison accessible and convincing by insisting that “totalitarian art,” a distinct genre with its own aesthetics and style, organization, and ideology, emerged with the rise of the four regimes indicated in the title of his book. 

By Igor Golomstock, Robert Chandler (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the Soviet Union, and later in Maoist China, theories of mass artistic appeal were used to promote the Revolution both at home and abroad. In Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy they asserted the putative grandeur of the epoch. All too often, art that served the Revolution became "total realism," and always it became a slave to the state and the cult of personality, and ultimately one more weapon in the arsenal of oppression. Igor Golomstock gives a detailed appraisal of the forms that define totalitarian art and illustrates his text with more than two hundred examples of its paintings,…


Book cover of The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War

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?

This is the go-to book for the Nazi art looting story on the non-fiction side. After I saw the film documentary that accompanies this book, I quickly read it and it got me started on my path to writing my own book. I also use The Rape of Europa as my class text for my college course: “Art and the Nazis.” Lynn Nicholas did an impressive amount of research and devotes chapters to the Nazi art looting in Poland, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy. She also discusses The Monuments Men (US and British officers who attempted to find and save Europe’s cultural items during WWII) but I think that subject is better handled by other books on this list!

By Lynn H. Nicholas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When the Nazi occupation of Poland, France and the Low Countries, and finally Italy, began a colossal wave of organised and casual pillaging stripped entire countries of their cultural heritage. From the day Hitler came to power, art was a matter of the highest priority to the Reich. He and other Nazis were ravenous collectors, stopping at nothing to acquire paintings and sculpture. Nicholas catalogues this theft and destruction but also shows how the dedicated corps of `Museum Officers', brought to Europe after the Allied victory, spent six years locating and sorting huge repositories of treasure and restoring their contents…


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 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 Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World's Best Writers

David A. Taylor Author Of Cork Wars: Intrigue and Industry in World War II

From my list on spies and espionage in WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child I found the history and biography books in our school library, and was enthralled. When I got older and discovered historical archives, the tension between public history in books and the secret or forgotten histories tucked away was irresistible. Writing books has taken me to five continents on journeys into everything from medicinal black markets to the traces of a wartime commercial spy network. For my latest book, digging through classified OSS files showed me what amazing stories still lie waiting for us.

David's book list on spies and espionage in WW2

David A. Taylor Why did David love this book?

Whitney gives a literary coda to World War II cloak-and-dagger, showing how its nests of spies and agencies pivoted and metastasised in the years afterward into the Cold War. The CIA took up where the OSS left off. Where Graham Greene and Kim Philby had run the haunts of Lisbon, then-young writers George Plimpton and Peter Matthiessen were cajoled to produce cultural propaganda in Paris and start the Paris Review. The CIA's literary operations continued into the 1960s when it launched a whispering campaign to prevent Pablo Neruda from receiving a Nobel prize, and launched Mundo Nuevo to engage Spanish-language readers.

By Joel Whitney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When news broke that the CIA had colluded with literary magazines to produce cultural propaganda throughout the Cold War, a debate began that has never been resolved. The story continues to unfold, with the reputations of some of America's best-loved literary figures-including Peter Matthiessen, George Plimpton, and Richard Wright-tarnished as their work for the intelligence agency has come to light.

Finks is a tale of two CIAs, and how they blurred the line between propaganda and literature. One CIA created literary magazines that promoted American and European writers and cultural freedom, while the other toppled governments, using assassination and censorship…


Book cover of Heritage Planning: Principles and Process

Matthias Ripp Author Of A Metamodel for Heritage-based Urban Development: Enabling Sustainable Growth Through Urban Cultural Heritage

From my list on understanding that cultural heritage can be part of the solution to climate change.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started my career in tourism but soon discovered my passion for urban heritage. Working as a site manager for a world heritage site, I gathered extensive insights on various levels of heritage management and urban governance from many colleagues around the world. Today there is no single project or meeting that does not address the challenges of climate change. Obtaining my Ph.D. late in life, in Heritage-Based Urban Development, I quickly became convinced that the traditional ideas of what cultural heritage is do not reflect the situation today and hinder giving cultural heritage a role in climate change prevention and adaption, beyond the narrative that it has to be preserved. 

Matthias' book list on understanding that cultural heritage can be part of the solution to climate change

Matthias Ripp Why did Matthias love this book?

Kalman's book on Heritage Management provides a great introduction and overview to the topic. He embraces an integrated and modern understanding of cultural heritage and addresses the potential obstacles heritage managers meet at the crossing points between the different relevant factors.

By focussing on the process, he gives fruitful insights based on case studies from around the world. Climate change, sustainability, and resilience are also integrated into this useful book.

I found this book useful because it describes cases, focuses on transferable principles, and emphasizes that the process is equally important as the desired result. By reading this book and the introduced approach, I really felt encouraged to follow up on my own approach, which I always focus on extracting strategies and principles from good examples because I strongly believe that they can be transferred much better to different places.

I also enjoyed the attention that has been given to…

By Harold Kalman, Marcus R. Letourneau,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This new and substantially revised edition of Heritage Planning: Principles and Process offers an extensive overview of the burgeoning fields of heritage planning and conservation. Positioning professional practice within its broader applied and theoretical contexts, the authors provide a firm foundation for understanding the principles, history, evolution, debates, and tools that inform heritage planning, while also demonstrating how to effectively enact these processes.

Few published works focus on the practice of heritage planning. The first edition of this book was developed to fill this gap, and this second edition builds upon it. The book has been expanded in scope to…


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