Loot: The Battle Over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World

Author(s): Sharon Waxman

World History

Why are the Elgin Marbles in London and not on the Acropolis? Why do there seem to be as many mummies in France as there are in Egypt? Why are so many Etruscan masterworks in America? For the past two centuries, the West has been plundering the treasures of the ancient world to fill its great museums, but in recent years, the countries where ancient civilizations originated have begun to push back, taking museums to court, prosecuting curators, and threatening to force the return of these priceless objects.Where do these treasures rightly belong? Sharon Waxman, a former culture reporter for "The New York Times" and a long-time foreign correspondent, brings us inside this high-stakes conflict, examining the implications for the preservation of the objects themselves and for how we understand our shared cultural heritage. Her journey takes readers from the great cities of Europe and America to Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy, as these countries face down the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum, the British Museum, and the J. Paul Getty Museum.
She also introduces a cast of determined and implacable characters whose battles may strip these museums of some of their most cherished treasures.For readers who are fascinated by antiquity, who love to frequent museums, and who believe in the value of cultural exchange, "Loot" opens a new window on an enduring conflict.


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"Sharon Waxman has written a compelling page turner about the world of antiquities and art-world skulduggery. She manages to combine rigorous, scholarly reporting with a flair for intrigue and personality that gives "Loot" the fast pace of a novel. I enjoyed it immensely."--Tina Brown""Loot" is a riveting foray into the biggest question facing museums today: who should own the great works of ancient art? Sharon Waxman is a first-rate reporter, a veritable Euphronios of words, who not only explores the legal and moral ambiguities of the conflict but brings to life the colorful -- even outrageous -- personalities facing off for a high noon showdown over some of the world's iconic works of art. Vivid, witty, and delightful, this book will beguile any reader with an interest in art and museums."--Douglas Preston, author of "The Monster of Florence""Sharon Waxman's "Loot" is the most instructive as well as the most intelligent (and the most entertaining) guide through the labyrinth of antiquity and the ways in which the claims of the departed intersect with the rights of the living."--Christopher Hitchens author of "God Is Not Great" and "The Elgin Marbles: Should They Be Returned to Greece?""Sharon Waxman approaches her subject with the passion of a great journalist and the rigor of a scholar. It may never again be possible for some of us to walk down the halls of the Louvre or the British Museum or the Metropolitan without a vague sense of disquietude, a frisson of wonder about the provenance of some of their showcase works of ancient art."--Lucette Lagnado, author of "The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit"Sharon Waxman's "Loot" is indispensable for everyone concerned with the illicit trade in smuggled antiquities. She exposes the self-serving humbug that too often afflicts both affluent possessors and righteous nationalists and shows that we all have a stake in getting an honest account of how great objects came to rest in our grandest museums."--Karl E.

Sharon Waxman is a former culture correspondent for "The New York Times "and holds a master's degree in Middle East studies from Oxford University. She covered Middle Eastern and European politics and culture for ten years before joining "The Washington Post "and then "The New York Times "to report on Hollywood and other cultural news. She is the author of "Rebels on the Backlot: Six Maverick Directors and How They Conquered the Hollywood Studio System." She lives in Southern California.

General Fields

  • : 9780805086539
  • : Times Books
  • : Times Books
  • : November 2008
  • : 235mm X 156mm X 30mm
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Hardback
  • : Sharon Waxman
  • : 8 page colour insert, 20 black/white illustrations
  • : 336
  • : 709.01