“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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Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
February 7, 2009 Saturday
In short nonfiction
BYLINE: Reviews by Bruce Elder
SECTION: SPECTRUM; Books; Pg. 31
By Sharon Waxman
What do you feel about all those antiquities from Greece, Egypt, Italy and the Middle East that are now on display in museums all over the world? Should they be returned to their countries of origin or do you agree with Aggy Leroule, the Louvre's press attache who claims: "You end up thinking we're all a bunch of looters, thieves, exploiters, that we're some kind of criminals . . . but who would be interested in Greek sculpture if it were all in Greece? These pieces are great because they're in the Louvre."
This is a fabulously well-written book full of outrage and shady intrigue. When you blend a fine journalistic style with a postgraduate degree in Middle East studies, you have a person who can write entertainingly about one of the modern world's most divisive artistic problems.
Waxman brings many of the key figures alive, debates the issues with subtlety and nuance and exposes much of the cultural arrogance that still underpins the belief that Western museums have some right to hold antiquities.