REVIEWERS AND READERS TALK ABOUT SAVING MONA LISA
“Gerri Chanel’s account of how France preserved its art from both the destruction of war and the pillaging of the German occupiers reads like a thriller and contains an excellent collection of photographs.”
— TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT 10/18
“ Chanel's history is a work of substance and scholarship that should be part of every art history collection and required reading for anyone who cares about Western civilization.”
— BOOKLIST (American Library Association, Spotlight review) 10/18
"Artfully interspersed with a series of lush, black and white period photos and boasting the...emotional scope of a literary novel... a celebration of the remarkable power of art."
— INDIE READER
"... a fascinating historical account...Saving Mona Lisa tells a compelling true story of ordinary citizens (in this case, museum professionals) doing extraordinary things... It also functions as a case-study in successful disaster preparedness for priceless museum collections."
— ARLIS REVIEWS (Art Libraries Society of North America)
"...[W] ill prove to be a monument to courage. Especially recommended to the attention of non-specialist general readers with an interest in World War II history and true tales of extraordinary heroism, "Saving Mona Lisa: The Battle to Protect the Louvre and its Treasures During World War II" should be considered an essential, core addition to academic library 20th Century European History collections."
— MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
"... [A] thoroughly detailed account of this intriguing chapter in French history. Rather than aggrandizing an already extraordinary story, her narration of the Mona Lisa's miraculous survival - in the face of Hitler's henchmen, heavy bombardment and the complicit Vichy government - lets the facts speak for themselves and they're all the more compelling for it.
— FRANCE MONTHLY, December 2014/January 2015
"The book is a must-have for anyone interested in history, art or war."
— Adrian Leeds, Parler Paris Après-Midi, Adrian Leeds Group
"In Saving Mona Lisa, Gerri Chanel has succeeded in an original work of scholarship that grips the reader with stories of French bureaucrats tying up Adolf Hitler, Herman Göring and the various Nazi art looting efforts in administrative red tape. Any reader who has run into the famous French intransigence will laugh at Louvre Museum Director Jacques Jaujard's creative ways of thwarting a rogue's gallery of Nazis as he careens around France with masterworks tied to unsteady trucks. ... Let's hope that Hollywood and history pay attention to Saving Mona Lisa, where the truth is more entertaining than fiction!"
"Saving Mona Lisa..." drew me in as other historical documentations have not been able to do. Gerri Chanel has captured the incredible passion of the French people for their "Patrimoine" and their sense of the importance of art to their (and the world's) history... I cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed this book and could not put it down! I know that the next time I visit the Louvre, I will look at it and many of the works cited through a very different lens. Kudos to Ms Chanel for bringing history alive and for showing us how the selfless dedication of professionals and everyday workers alike cared for the treasures that make our world a better place. This is a 'must read'!!"
"History, intrigue, beauty... masterfully interwoven and documented. With pictures from the time! A whole new view of that challenging time in France. Essential reading in my book."
"A real page-turner and every word is true. The perfect gift for anyone who cares about art and history or for a book club. I LOVED it!"
"I definitely don't consider myself a history buff and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I wish I had read it before I visited the Louvre and will definitely have a different perspective next time I return. Often history books do not include enough introduction or contextualization of relevant information, leaving the reader to rely on other references to fill in the gaps. In this case, the author does a fantastic job of familiarizing the reader with all the important players, places and art pieces in a way that really brings them to life...Additionally, she manages the difficult task of moving back and forth in both time and place and weaving several different story lines into a seamless narrative that reads like a thriller."
"...the gripping story of the German occupation of Paris and so much more. Superbly researched and accompanied by wonderful photographs, it is a story of our love for this amazing piece of art, history, and humanity. Saving Mona Lisa reveals so much history about Europe, art and the preparations for war in galleries around the world."