The Gardner Heist – Ulrich Boser [TSS]

Title: The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft
Author: Ulrich Boser
ISBN: 9780061451836
Pages: 272
Release Date: February 24, 2009
Publisher: Smithsonian
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: Library
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

On March 18, 1990, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston was robbed.  The thieves got away with priceless artwork, including a Vermeer, three Rembrandts, a Manet, and five Degas sketches.  It is the largest unsolved art theft in history; the empty frames hanging in the Gardner museum are a constant reminder of what has been lost.  Intrigued by the crime, journalist Ulrich Boser explores the heist in order to determine whether a fresh pair of eyes can shed any light on what happened.

Review:

I knew next to nothing about the Gardner theft before picking up this book from the library.  I knew there had been some sort of art robbery, but that was pretty much where my knowledge ended.  However, I found the subject intriguing, so I decided to give this book a chance, and I’m so glad I did!  I found The Gardner Heist to be a well-researched and interesting book on a subject I have a feeling I will be reading a lot more about in the future.

Boser provides the reader with a lot of background in The Gardner Heist, which was very much appreciated.  He doesn’t assume the reader will know a lot going in, so he takes care to fill the reader in on the heist and the aftermath.  At the same time, he doesn’t spend too much time on it, so that if you are familiar with the details, you won’t find the book too elementary.  The details of the heist will simply be a refresher, before Boser forges ahead into new territory.

Often, non-fiction books such as this are dry, but Boser did an amazing job keeping the narrative lively and interesting.  I was really impressed at how hooked I was to this book – it wasn’t a chore to wade through his prose in order to get to the story I wanted to hear.  He’s a talented writer with a eye for bringing his tale to life for the reader.

I have to admit, Ulrich Boser has gotten me hooked on the Gardner theft.  I hate that it’s unsolved and it really makes me sad that the paintings may never be seen again.  It’s difficult to write on a case that hasn’t been closed yet because the reader is left without a sense of closure, without a neat and tidy ending.  Still, Boser does a wonderful job putting forward his theory on what happened, and it is very plausible.  This is a book that would be great for people who are hesitant about non-fiction, yet find the subject of an art theft intriguing.  I definitely recommend it!

Comments

  1. The Gardner is a beautiful museum, and I remember when I visited it, there is a blank space on the wall for the stolen paintings. It is a very sad, yet intriguing, story. Sounds like a good book – thanks for the review!

  2. The Gardner is a beautiful museum, and I remember when I visited it, there is a blank space on the wall for the stolen paintings. It is a very sad, yet intriguing, story. Sounds like a good book – thanks for the review!

  3. So interesting that the blank spaces are there as a reminder. And I vaguely remember when the theft occurred. I didn’t realize that it’s been 20 years already.

  4. So interesting that the blank spaces are there as a reminder. And I vaguely remember when the theft occurred. I didn’t realize that it’s been 20 years already.

  5. I think I just saw something on Book TV about this or somewhere on TV anyway. In any case I am adding it to my list to read. I’m a sucker for a good mystery and the fact that this really happened makes me more intrigued.

  6. I think I just saw something on Book TV about this or somewhere on TV anyway. In any case I am adding it to my list to read. I’m a sucker for a good mystery and the fact that this really happened makes me more intrigued.

  7. I love true stories like this. I always wonder about art thefts of works this famous. I mean, what is the point? It’s not like the thieves can hang them over their mantle, or sell them to the highest bidder!

  8. I love true stories like this. I always wonder about art thefts of works this famous. I mean, what is the point? It’s not like the thieves can hang them over their mantle, or sell them to the highest bidder!

  9. Since I love books and art, this sounds right up my alley! Great review!

  10. Since I love books and art, this sounds right up my alley! Great review!

  11. I’m so glad I caught your review. I spent hours in the Gardner Museum while attending college in Boston. I was so upset when the theft occurred and I’m amazed that the crime remains unsolved. I will definitely read this book!

  12. I’m so glad I caught your review. I spent hours in the Gardner Museum while attending college in Boston. I was so upset when the theft occurred and I’m amazed that the crime remains unsolved. I will definitely read this book!

  13. I, too, remember when this happened (time DOES fly!). Sounds like the research and narrative are very well done, thanks for the review … likely I’ll be reading this.

  14. I, too, remember when this happened (time DOES fly!). Sounds like the research and narrative are very well done, thanks for the review … likely I’ll be reading this.

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