Book Reviews,  History,  Non-Fiction

Book Review: Fragile Cargo

Fragile Cargo: The World War II Race to Save the Treasures of China's Forbidden CityFragile Cargo: The World War II Race to Save the Treasures of China’s Forbidden City by Adam Brookes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. I believe now that a TARDIS can exist, since I’ve just read a book that is much bigger on the inside than it’s size would indicate.

This is the story of protecting a national art collection during turbulent times in China, but the book goes well beyond dry facts and figures about the transportation of the artwork over many miles in search of a safe haven. We learn about the artists and the times they lived in. We learn about the treasures of the Forbidden City and the people who gave their all to catalog and protect a staggering number of art objects.

This meticulously researched book puts us right there in the Forbidden City, shivering alongside the catalogers, risking frostbite and struggling with pots of frozen ink while pushing forward with their herculean task. This job took its toll on many people, sometimes in heartbreaking ways.

And those travels – Indiana Jones could only dream of such adventures! The mishap with the stone drum… well, I will not spoil that in advance. You need to gasp with surprise just as I did.

This book needs to be shelved in the libraries of as many universities and museums as possible, and soon. History is fascinating, when the stories are told by a passionate, learned storyteller. Adam Brookes is one of those, and he has my thanks for an outstanding experience.

My thanks to author Adam Brookes, Atria Books, and NetGalley for allowing me to read a digital advance review copy of this book. This review is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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