Hitler's Last Hostages: Book summary and reviews of Hitler's Last Hostages by Mary M. Lane

Hitler's Last Hostages

Looted Art and the Soul of the Third Reich

by Mary M. Lane

Hitler's Last Hostages by Mary M. Lane X
Hitler's Last Hostages by Mary M. Lane
Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

The riveting story of Hitler's obsession with art, how it fueled his vision of a purified Nazi state, and the fate of the artwork that was hidden, stolen, or destroyed to "cleanse" German culture.

Nazism ascended not by brute force but by cultural tyranny. Weimar Germany was a society in turmoil, and Hitler's rise to power was achieved not only by harnessing the military but also by restricting artistic expression. Hitler, an artist himself, promised the dejected citizens of post-war Germany a purified Reich, purged of "degenerate" influences.

When Hitler came to power in 1933, he removed so-called "degenerate" art from German society and promoted artists whom he considered the embodiment of the "Aryan ideal." Artists who had weaponized culture to resist inequality and oppression fled the country. The government purged museums. Thousands of great artworks disappeared--and only a fraction of them were rediscovered by the Allied Monuments Men after World War II.

In 2013, the German government confiscated roughly 1,300 works by Henri Matisse, George Grosz, Claude Monet, and other masters from the apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt, the reclusive son of one of Hitler's primary art dealers. For two years, the government kept the discovery a secret. This is the definitive story of those works of art, their theft, and their long, agonizing restitution: the last hostages of Hitler.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"A gripping, original contribution to a still-unresolved Nazi crime." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"The revelatory saga of a monumental Nazi art theft and all the perpetrators, from Hitler to the modern museum directors who ignored the glaring signs of looted art. This riveting unraveling of one of the most outrageous and monumental chapters in stolen art is a must-read art crime chronicle." - Anne-Marie O'Connor, author of The Lady in Gold

"Mary M. Lane skillfully chronicles the saga of a huge trove of art that had seemingly disappeared during World War II and the Holocaust. It's a gripping tale punctuated by plunder, profiteering, and self-serving rationalizations. Most chillingly, the outright deceptions continued long after the collapse of Hitler's Third Reich." - Andrew Nagorski, author of 1941: The Year Germany Lost the War and Hitlerland

"In this valuable study of an important piece of history, Mary M. Lane tells a shocking story of theft, horror, and lack of redemption." - Laurence Rees, author of Auschwitz and The Holocaust: A New History

This information about Hitler's Last Hostages was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Mary M. Lane

Mary M. Lane (b. 1987) is a nonfiction writer and journalist specializing in Western art, Western European history, and anti-Semitism. Lane received one of five Fulbright Journalism Scholarships at 22 years old, gained international recognition as the chief European art reporter for the Wall Street Journal, and published numerous exclusive Page One articles on the art trove of Hildebrand Gurlitt. Since leaving the Journal, Lane has been a European art contributor for the New York Times. She splits her time between Berlin and Virginia.

More Author Information

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more history, current affairs and religion...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: I'm the Girl
    I'm the Girl
    by Courtney Summers
    YA author Courtney Summers doesn't believe in shielding her teenage readers from the world's darkest...
  • Book Jacket: They're Going to Love You
    They're Going to Love You
    by Meg Howrey
    Teenage Carlisle lives with her mother in Ohio, but their relationship has never felt particularly ...
  • Book Jacket: The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    by Isaac Blum
    That irreplaceable feeling of everyone knowing your name. The yearning to be anonymous. Parents ...
  • Book Jacket: Now Is Not the Time to Panic
    Now Is Not the Time to Panic
    by Kevin Wilson
    The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Honor
by Thrity Umrigar
Set in India, a tender and evocative novel about love across a cultural divide, familial devotion and betrayal.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Izquierdo
    by Rubén Degollado

    A masterful debut that weaves together the lives of three generations of a Mexican American family bound by love, and a curse.

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

W N, W Not

and be entered to win..

Who Said...

The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.