An influential figure in Adolf Hitler’s early inner circle from the start, Alfred Rosenberg made his name spreading toxic ideas about the Jews throughout Germany. By the dawn of the Third Reich, he had published a bestselling masterwork that was a touchstone of Nazi thinking.
His diary was discovered hidden in a Bavarian castle at war’s end—five hundred pages providing a harrowing glimpse into the mind of a man whose ideas set the stage for the Holocaust. Prosecutors examined it during the Nuremberg war crimes trial, but after Rosenberg was convicted, sentenced, and executed, it mysteriously vanished.
New York Times bestselling author Robert K. Wittman, who as an FBI agent and then a private consultant specialized in recovering artifacts of historic significance, first learned of the diary in 2001, when the chief archivist for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum contacted him to say that someone was trying to sell it for upwards of a million dollars. The phone call sparked a decade-long hunt that took them on a twisting path involving a pair of octogenarian secretaries, an eccentric professor, and an opportunistic trash-picker. From the crusading Nuremberg prosecutor who smuggled the diary out of Germany to the man who finally turned it over, everyone had reasons for hiding the truth.
Drawing on Rosenberg’s entries about his role in the seizure of priceless artwork and the brutal occupation of the Soviet Union, his conversations with Hitler and his endless rivalries with Göring, Goebbels, and Himmler, The Devil’s Diary offers vital historical insight of unprecedented scope and intimacy into the innermost workings of the Nazi regime—and into the psyche of the man whose radical vision mutated into the Final Solution.
Bob Dylan is the most influential songwriter of our time, and, after a half century, he continues to be a touchstone, a fascination, and an enigma. From the very beginning, he attracted an intensely fanatical cult following, and in The Dylanologists, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist David Kinney ventures deep into this eccentric subculture to answer a question: What can Dylan’s grip on his most enthusiastic listeners tell us about his towering place in American culture?
Kinney introduces us to a vibrant underground: diggers searching for unheard tapes and lost manuscripts, researchers obsessing over the facts of Dylan’s life and career, writers working to decode the unyieldingly mysterious songs, fans who meticulously record and dissect every concert. It’s an affectionate mania, but as far as Dylan is concerned, a mania nonetheless. Over the years, the intensely private and fiercely combative musician has been frightened, annoyed, and perplexed by fans who try to peel back his layers. He has made one thing—perhaps the only thing—crystal clear: He does not wish to be known.
Told with tremendous insight, intelligence, and warmth, “entertaining and well-written…The Dylanologists is as much a book about obsession—about the ways our fascinations manifest themselves, about how we cope with what we love but don’t quite understand—as it is a book about a musician and his nutty fans” (The Wall Street Journal).
In Priceless, Robert K. Wittman, the founder of the FBI’s Art Crime Team, pulls back the curtain on his remarkable career for the first time, offering a real-life international thriller to rival The Thomas Crown Affair.
Rising from humble roots as the son of an antique dealer, Wittman built a twenty-year career that was nothing short of extraordinary. He went undercover, usually unarmed, to catch art thieves, scammers, and black market traders in Paris and Philadelphia, Rio and Santa Fe, Miami and Madrid.
In this page-turning memoir, Wittman fascinates with the stories behind his recoveries of priceless art and antiquities: The golden armor of an ancient Peruvian warrior king. The Rodin sculpture that inspired the Impressionist movement. The headdress Geronimo wore at his final Pow-Wow. The rare Civil War battle flag carried into battle by one of the nation’s first African-American regiments.
The breadth of Wittman’s exploits is unmatched: He traveled the world to rescue paintings by Rockwell and Rembrandt, Pissarro, Monet and Picasso, often working undercover overseas at the whim of foreign governments. Closer to home, he recovered an original copy of the Bill of Rights and cracked the scam that rocked the PBS series Antiques Roadshow.
By the FBI’s accounting, Wittman saved hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art and antiquities. He says the statistic isn’t important. After all, who’s to say what is worth more --a Rembrandt self-portrait or an American flag carried into battle? They're both priceless.
The art thieves and scammers Wittman caught run the gamut from rich to poor, smart to foolish, organized criminals to desperate loners. The smuggler who brought him a looted 6th-century treasure turned out to be a high-ranking diplomat. The appraiser who stole countless heirlooms from war heroes’ descendants was a slick, aristocratic con man. The museum janitor who made off with locks of George Washington's hair just wanted to make a few extra bucks, figuring no one would miss what he’d filched.
In his final case, Wittman called on every bit of knowledge and experience in his arsenal to take on his greatest challenge: working undercover to track the vicious criminals behind what might be the most audacious art theft of all.
From the Hardcover edition.
Much more than just a book for fishing enthusiasts, The Big One is an exhilarating story of passion and obsession—and a powerful testament to the dreams that keep us all going.
Einst waren sie wichtiges Belastungsmaterial in den Nürnberger Kriegsverbrecherprozessen: die Tagebücher des NS-Chefideologen und Reichsministers Alfred Rosenberg. Jahrzehntelang galt dieses Schlüsseldokument zum Verständnis des Nationalsozialismus als verschollen. Bis der Hauptarchivar des US Holocaust Memorial Museum, der hartnäckig nach den Tagebüchern forschte, erstmals einen Hinweis auf den Verbleib der Dokumente erhielt: Allem Anschein nach hatte einer der Hauptankläger der Alliierten die Rosenberg-Papiere 1946 entwendet. Erst dank der Findigkeit des FBI-Ermittlers Robert K. Wittman werden an einem Frühlingsmorgen 2013 die 425 losen Seiten in der Handschrift Alfred Rosenbergs nach Washington, D. C., überstellt. Erstmals beschreibt Wittman die Jagd nach den Tagebüchern und analysiert die Schlüsselstellen zum Holocaust und zum Vernichtungskrieg im Osten – ein zeitgeschichtlicher Thriller, ein einzigartiges historisches Dokument.