“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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Galley Cat came to our party in New York and filed this report, with thanks to Ron Hogan:
"I sometimes refer to this book as my midlife crisis," joked former NY Times Hollywood reporter Sharon Waxman at the party last week celebrating the publication of Loot, her globe-spanning report on the struggle between museums and national governments over just who has the right to keep and display historical artifacts like the Elgin Marbles or Turkey's Lydian Horde. Instead of buying a sports car, she explained, she went to eight different countries to research her subject, including two separate trips to Paris ("abandoning my children for the summer," she quipped). Once she had a hold of the story, she couldn't let it go: "When there's something I want to figure out," she said, "I'll go figure it out."
As we discovered later in the evening, Waxman has been laying the groundwork for a new career as a digital media entrepreneur even while she was honing her classical scholarship skills. Over the summer, she completed a $500K round of seed funding for The Wrap News, "a news and information network covering the entertainment and media industries" that will also draw upon social networking tools to build a community where readers and reporters can intereact in real time. The site is scheduled to launch in just two months; in the meantime, Waxman is still active at her own blog.