: Amber room (9780802714244) : Adrian Levy, Catherine Scott-Clark : Books
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Amber Room

by Adrian Levy, Catherine Scott-Clark
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publishing date: 01/06/2004
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780802714244
  • ISBN: 0802714242


The history of art has produced few works as ambitious and as valuable as the Amber Room. Famous throughout Europe as ?the eighth wonder of the world,” its vast and intricately worked amber panels were sent in 1717 by Frederick I of Prussia as a gift to Peter the Great of Russia. Erected some years later, they quickly became a symbol of Russia’s imperial might.

For more than two hundred years the Amber Room remained in its Russian palace outside St. Petersburg (Leningrad), but when the Nazi army invaded Russia and swept towards Leningrad in 1941, the panels were wrenched from the walls, packed into crates, and disappeared from view, never to be seen again.

Dozens of people have tried to trace the whereabouts of the Amber Room, and several of them have died in mysterious circumstances. Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark have gone further along the trail of this great lost treasure than anyone before them, and have unraveled the jumble of evidence surrounding its fate. Their search catapulted them across eastern Europe and into the menacing world of espionage and counterespionage that still surrounds Russia and the former Soviet bloc. In archives in St. Petersburg and Berlin, amid boxes of hitherto unseen diaries, letters, and classified reports, they have uncovered for the first time an astounding conspiracy to hide the truth.

In a gripping climax that is a triumph of detection and narrative journalism, The Amber Room shows incontrovertibly what really happened to the most valuable lost artwork in the world, and why the truth has been withheld for so long.

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  • Lost amber
    From Amazon

    Intriguing account of the Russian "Amber Room", originally built by Prussian king Frederick 1, and given to the Russia's Peter the Great in 1717. The room (wallboards decorated with sheets of amber) was lost during WWII after it had been captured by German soldiers overruning Leningrad and removed to Konigsburg Castle. This popular history is told in the form of an unfolding political thriller, the most interesting aspect of which is the still-intense feeling about the loss and reparation of historical national cultural treasures during the war. After leading the reader through the labyrinth of the bureaucracies of national cultural and political archives in Russia and the former East Germany, and documenting the extant theories of where the Amber Room remains hidden, the authors conclude that in fact the room was destroyed by fires set by looting Soviet soldiers when Koningsburg was recaptured in 1944. Even this deflating conclusion proves interesting given the Cold War politics still surrounding the issue.

  • Frustrating read, poorly written
    From Amazon

    After a good start, the authors get hopefulliy lost in trying to maintain some thread of their investigation with so many tangents and contradictions that it because a real exercise in self-punishment. They come to no concrete conclusions and keep repeating speculations. There is a cast of thousands in this book and many key persons are continually recast as though each retelling or hearsay evidence changes the truth. The truth is hard to see in this work, and you will find yourself skipping over details that only the authors could somehow find fascinating. I think they were paid by the word.

  • Thorough, responsible, a bit repetitive
    From Amazon

    On the whole, I enjoyed this book because I am interested in art history, the political history of WWII and the Cold War, and mysteries. I did feel, however, that the the authors could have trusted us to remember people and events a bit more than they did. There was a fair amount of restatement and reintroduction. The speculative conclusion they arrive at seems reasonable. The authors display a keen understanding of human nature and the possible motives leading to the disinformation campaign surrounding the fate of the Amber Room.

  • Good Book
    From Amazon

    I loved this book. It is a good example of good research, good journalism and great writing. Must Read for all History Buff.

  • The Amber Room
    From Amazon

    I initially read this book because I wanted to find out about the Amber Room and because I had read a reveiw of it that made it sound like an intriguing mystery story. The book is written by journalists and reads that way. It is not a scholarly book, althought the people who wrote it did do a lot of research. While I learned about the Amber Room, what I really learned about was the culture of secrecy that existed and maybe still exists in E. Germany, W. Germany and the USSR. While there were times I wished I didn't have to read another 20 pages only to be told that the writers had reached a dead-end (!!), I began to realize that the main part of their story was the journey they were taking, were the dead ends and the reasons for those dead ends. This is an interesting picture of Russia and Eastern Europe in the 1990's as well as a story about what happened to the Amber Room after WWII.

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