Press Release

"Saving Italy:" National WWII Museum to Host Best-Selling Historian

Author Robert Edsel Tells a True Tale Worthy of Indiana Jones

NEW ORLEANS (May 14, 2013) — On May 30 listen to some of the true adventures that thrilled Hollywood. The National WWII Museum, in partnership with the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) and 89.9 WWNO-FM, will host a special lecture and book signing for noted writer and historian Robert M. Edsel. The author will discuss the dramatic American effort at the end of World War II to save priceless treasures from the Nazis — the subject of an upcoming major motion picture starring George Clooney and Matt Damon.

Edsel’s talk is called “Saving Italy: The Monuments Men, Nazis, and War” and is based on his book Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation’s Treasures from the Nazis, published by W.W. Norton on May 6, 2013. The book recounts the determined American drive, before the shooting ceased, to save priceless art looted by the Germans from great museums in Florence and Naples. It is a gripping narrative sure to appeal to anyone who loves history, art, travel and adventure.

“Robert Edsel weaves a suspenseful tale worthy of an Indiana Jones plot,” said Dr. Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, president and chief executive officer of The National WWII Museum. “He pulls you into a dangerous web of intrigue in which the Vatican, top German SS generals, American OSS operatives and Italian officials are entwined in top-secret negotiations to end the war. A must read for any WWII history enthusiast.”

NBC TV journalist and historian Tom Brokaw echoed Mueller’s praise.

Saving Italy is an astonishing account of a little known American effort to save Italy’s vast store of priceless monuments and art during World War II,” said the network anchorman. “While American warriors were fighting the length of the country, other Americans were courageously working alongside to preserve the irreplaceable best of Italy’s culture. Read it and be proud of those who were on their own front lines of a cruel war.”

Edsel is the author of the non-fiction books Rescuing Da Vinci and The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, as well as the forthcoming Saving Italy. He is also co-producer of the award-winning documentary film, The Rape of Europa. In addition, he is the founder and president of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, a nonprofit entity that received the National Humanities Medal. Edsel has been awarded the Texas Medal of Arts award and the President’s Call to Service Award, as well as the Hope for Humanity Award presented by the Dallas Holocaust Museum. He also serves as a Board of Trustees member at The National WWII Museum.

In the movie project, Academy Award winner Clooney has assembled a stellar cast, including Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, and Bill Murray, for the film version of the book, The Monuments Men. Clooney will direct and star in the film, which is now in production and has a release date of December 18, 2013.

A 5:00 pm reception will precede a 6:00 pm lecture. Both will be held in the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center.

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Guests can register at the Museum’s website or by calling 1-877-813-3229 x 412 or emailing

The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world — why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and designated by Congress as America’s National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-527-6012 or visit Follow us on Twitter at WWIImuseum or visit our Facebook fan page.