“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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More booty going back home: Princeton's art museum has agreed to transfer title to eight ancient artifacts to Italy in the wake of demands by the government, my colleague Elisabetta Povoledo and others reported over the weekend. Of 15 items under dispute, Princeton will keep 7 objects and transfer legal title to eight, and four of those they can keep on loan for four years. The stunning vase pictured at left will stay on loan to Princeton. No details about what evidence or documents were used to strike the deal, but I would imagine that this is the start of a flood of similar agreements, as institutions make rational decisions in the wake of the Getty deal and the prosecution of Marion True. Italian prosecutor Maurizio Fiorilli told reporters that he is looking at artifacts at the Glyptotek in Copenhagen, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Miho Museum in Shiga, Japan. As these deals continue to roll in, and Italy takes possession of beautiful, well-curated and well visited artifacts from around the world, two points need to be monitored by observers: how well will Italy care for the objects that it has claimed as restitution? And has the campaign to take these pieces back to Italy had a real impact on illegal excavating?