“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."
“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.”
Douglas Preston, author of The Monster of Florence:
"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."
Lucette Lagnado, author of The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit:
“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.”
Karl E. Meyer, author of The Plundered Past and co-author of Kingmakers: The Invention of the Modern Middle East:
"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."
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Here's a new Associated Press story telling readers of this blog what they knew was going to happen: as the ink dries on the newly-signed agreement between the Getty and Italy, in which the museum returns 40 pieces to Italy, Italy is dropping civil charges against Marion True. That should happen when her trial resumes tomorrow. "True's position is certainly less serious. ... In this case, returning the artifacts can be considered an extenuating circumstance," Maurizio Fiorilli, one of the state prosecutors, told reporters after the deal was signed at the Culture Ministry in Rome this week. Fiorilli handles the civil case, while it is his colleague Paolo Ferri who prosecutes the criminal charges. But as Fiorilli told me this summer, the criminal charges could be pleaded out in exchange for a few months in prison. No word on whether True would agree to this sort of deal, but she is undoubtedly eager to be through with this chapter of her life. UPDATE: True's camp is not interested in a plea bargain, I've been told. They want to prove her innocence of the charges, and intend to see the trial through, though in Italy that process may take many more years.