We don’t have to tell Politics and Prose customers that politics touches everything, but I previously knew little about the culture wars raging between museums and various nations. Now we have several books on this issue. Loot (Times Books, $30), by Sharon Waxman, is an entertaining account of tensions between the old imperial nations and the countries that were once “looted” for their treasures. Meet Zahi Hawass, the flamboyant secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt, who’s at war with the Louvre to recover treasures Napoleon carried home with him more than two centuries ago. It’s a new headache for Western museum directors, like Alain Pasquier, chief conservator of Greco-Roman antiquities at the Louvre. But it’s not just Europe under pressure; Turkey is trying to repatriate tombs and precious objects sold to the Met relatively recently.
(This book cannot be returned.)