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The Woman Who Stole Vermeer: The True Story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House Art Heist

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The extraordinary life and crimes of heiress-turned-revolutionary Rose Dugdale, who in 1974 became the only woman to pull off a major art heist. In the world of crime, there exists an unusual commonality between those who steal art and those who repeatedly kill: they are almost exclusively male. But, as with all things, there is always an outlier—someone who bucks the trend The extraordinary life and crimes of heiress-turned-revolutionary Rose Dugdale, who in 1974 became the only woman to pull off a major art heist. In the world of crime, there exists an unusual commonality between those who steal art and those who repeatedly kill: they are almost exclusively male. But, as with all things, there is always an outlier—someone who bucks the trend, defying the reliable profiles and leaving investigators and researchers scratching their heads. In the history of major art heists, that outlier is Rose Dugdale. Dugdale’s life is singularly notorious. Born into extreme wealth, she abandoned her life as an Oxford-trained PhD and heiress to join the cause of Irish Republicanism. While on the surface she appears to be the British version of Patricia Hearst, she is anything but. Dugdale ran head-first towards the action, spearheading the first aerial terrorist attack in British history and pulling off the biggest art theft of her time. In 1974, she led a gang into the opulent Russborough House in Ireland and made off with millions in prized paintings, including works by Goya, Gainsborough, and Rubens, as well as Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid by the mysterious master Johannes Vermeer. Dugdale thus became—to this day—the only woman to pull off a major art heist. And as Anthony Amore explores in The Woman Who Stole Vermeer, it’s likely that this was not her only such heist. The Woman Who Stole Vermeer is Rose Dugdale’s story, from her idyllic upbringing in Devonshire and her presentation to Elizabeth II as a debutante to her university years and her eventual radical lifestyle. Her life of crime and activism is at turns unbelievable and awe-inspiring, and sure to engross readers.


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The extraordinary life and crimes of heiress-turned-revolutionary Rose Dugdale, who in 1974 became the only woman to pull off a major art heist. In the world of crime, there exists an unusual commonality between those who steal art and those who repeatedly kill: they are almost exclusively male. But, as with all things, there is always an outlier—someone who bucks the trend The extraordinary life and crimes of heiress-turned-revolutionary Rose Dugdale, who in 1974 became the only woman to pull off a major art heist. In the world of crime, there exists an unusual commonality between those who steal art and those who repeatedly kill: they are almost exclusively male. But, as with all things, there is always an outlier—someone who bucks the trend, defying the reliable profiles and leaving investigators and researchers scratching their heads. In the history of major art heists, that outlier is Rose Dugdale. Dugdale’s life is singularly notorious. Born into extreme wealth, she abandoned her life as an Oxford-trained PhD and heiress to join the cause of Irish Republicanism. While on the surface she appears to be the British version of Patricia Hearst, she is anything but. Dugdale ran head-first towards the action, spearheading the first aerial terrorist attack in British history and pulling off the biggest art theft of her time. In 1974, she led a gang into the opulent Russborough House in Ireland and made off with millions in prized paintings, including works by Goya, Gainsborough, and Rubens, as well as Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid by the mysterious master Johannes Vermeer. Dugdale thus became—to this day—the only woman to pull off a major art heist. And as Anthony Amore explores in The Woman Who Stole Vermeer, it’s likely that this was not her only such heist. The Woman Who Stole Vermeer is Rose Dugdale’s story, from her idyllic upbringing in Devonshire and her presentation to Elizabeth II as a debutante to her university years and her eventual radical lifestyle. Her life of crime and activism is at turns unbelievable and awe-inspiring, and sure to engross readers.

30 review for The Woman Who Stole Vermeer: The True Story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House Art Heist

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jill Hutchinson

    No, non, nyet..........I almost didn't finish this book which I seldom do. Why?.......I could not bear the woman, Rose Dugdale, who was the subject of the story.....and she was unbearable. The title is somewhat misleading since the theft of the Vermeer is not addressed until later in the book. I am not saying that the author doesn't write well.........it was the main character that engendered my intense dislike of this book. Enough said! No, non, nyet..........I almost didn't finish this book which I seldom do. Why?.......I could not bear the woman, Rose Dugdale, who was the subject of the story.....and she was unbearable. The title is somewhat misleading since the theft of the Vermeer is not addressed until later in the book. I am not saying that the author doesn't write well.........it was the main character that engendered my intense dislike of this book. Enough said!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    Excellent research into the back story of the Russborough House Art Heist by one of the most complex thieves I've ever read about. Put aside most everything you've ever thought you knew about art thieves for this richly woven story. Unsure if history has any other art thief/terrorist/activist combo, let alone as a female protagonist. Amore peels back the layers of Rose Dugdale's repudiation of her upbringing and station in life. Excellent research into the back story of the Russborough House Art Heist by one of the most complex thieves I've ever read about. Put aside most everything you've ever thought you knew about art thieves for this richly woven story. Unsure if history has any other art thief/terrorist/activist combo, let alone as a female protagonist. Amore peels back the layers of Rose Dugdale's repudiation of her upbringing and station in life.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Robert Sheard

    If you pick this one up thinking it's about Vermeer and stolen art, you're going to be disappointed. Vermeer and the art heists hinted at in the title aren't even mentioned until more than halfway through the book, and then they're finished with in 30-40 pages. This is really a portrait of Rose Dugdale's life as a wannabe revolutionary. A spoiled rich girl, debutante, hypocrite, mediocre student, Rose suddenly turns on her family and Capitalism after university and starts looking for a fight–pre If you pick this one up thinking it's about Vermeer and stolen art, you're going to be disappointed. Vermeer and the art heists hinted at in the title aren't even mentioned until more than halfway through the book, and then they're finished with in 30-40 pages. This is really a portrait of Rose Dugdale's life as a wannabe revolutionary. A spoiled rich girl, debutante, hypocrite, mediocre student, Rose suddenly turns on her family and Capitalism after university and starts looking for a fight–pretty much any fight. She attends Castro's summer camp for revolutionaries in Cuba, travels to any civil protest she can find in the 1960s, all the while still enjoying the material wealth from her family. (A socialist revolutionary who buys her boyfriend a Mercedes? Umm... no.) Ultimately Rose adopts the cause of the IRA. It's telling that the IRA never really accepts Rose. They don't trust her, they don't think she knows what she's doing, and what she does she does fairly poorly. But Rose is all about the show, the noise, the pot-stirring. The problem for every revolution is that when you knock off whatever is on top, it has to be replaced by something else as the system "revolves." Rose never thought that far ahead. She just wanted to fight everyone and everything. I've read Patrick Radden Keefe's Say Nothing, and if you're looking for a great book on the Troubles, that's a far better choice. If you're really interested in Vermeer and the two art heists mentioned in this book, the rest is a lot to wade through for very little about the art.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was an interesting book but not, to my mind, really "art-crime." It's more of a biography of Rose Dugdale, a British debutante turned fringe IRA fighter, who was also an art thief. I read The Irish Game and felt I knew as much about her as I really needed to after that, but Amore provides a history of that period of the Irish Troubles and many of the other characters involved to give more context to what she did overall, not just around the robbery at Russborough House. It is an interesting This was an interesting book but not, to my mind, really "art-crime." It's more of a biography of Rose Dugdale, a British debutante turned fringe IRA fighter, who was also an art thief. I read The Irish Game and felt I knew as much about her as I really needed to after that, but Amore provides a history of that period of the Irish Troubles and many of the other characters involved to give more context to what she did overall, not just around the robbery at Russborough House. It is an interesting story, particularly to me, as I spent considerable time in Ireland and England during the early 1970s. Amore seems a bit obsessed with Dugdale and writes with somewhat grudging admiration of her exploits, even the most violent ones, and many of the accompanying photographs are credited as being "from the author's personal collection." I found this odd, given Amore's background in law enforcement and ties to the FBI. I can certainly see, after what happened with the Belfast Project interviews, why Rose declined to speak to him, but hearing about her later life would have rounded the story out nicely. The part I found most intriguing was the robbery at Kenwood House, in which Vermeer's The Guitar Player was stolen. This took place just a couple of months before the Russborough House theft and Amore posits that Rose Dugdale was behind this heist as well. The clues do seem to point that way, but the secrecy surrounding the recovery (authorities never revealed the identity of the tipster, and no one was ever charged) is perplexing, to say the least. Perhaps someone else was involved that the police were reluctant to name because they were an informant? We'll probably never know. Another review I read mentioned that the end of the book seemed rushed, particularly around the kidnapping of Tiede Herrema, and that there were words left out in later chapters. I agree with this and also found several typos throughout the text, which was irritating. Hopefully, these will be corrected in the paperback edition.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    This book was not exactly what I expected it to be, but I am glad I read it! The stealing of art work was only a very narrow part of the story.... the real story was about the radicalization of an aristocratic British woman who joined in the fight for freeing Ireland from the UK. I learned much about the IRA and fringe groups and found some close parallels to what is happening today in the radicalization of political groups in the US. It is not a long book, but it is packed full of information a This book was not exactly what I expected it to be, but I am glad I read it! The stealing of art work was only a very narrow part of the story.... the real story was about the radicalization of an aristocratic British woman who joined in the fight for freeing Ireland from the UK. I learned much about the IRA and fringe groups and found some close parallels to what is happening today in the radicalization of political groups in the US. It is not a long book, but it is packed full of information and is well documented.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    This seems more a bio of Rose Dugdale and her development from growing up in the English aristocracy to becoming an Irish freedom activist than it does the story of the art heist. It began pretty slowly and rather academically, and I considered dnf-ing. but then became engrossed in her story. I had no prior knowledge of her newsworthy crimes and trials, but they happened during my college years when I really didn't keep up with world happenings and knew very little about the Irish political stru This seems more a bio of Rose Dugdale and her development from growing up in the English aristocracy to becoming an Irish freedom activist than it does the story of the art heist. It began pretty slowly and rather academically, and I considered dnf-ing. but then became engrossed in her story. I had no prior knowledge of her newsworthy crimes and trials, but they happened during my college years when I really didn't keep up with world happenings and knew very little about the Irish political struggles. The passion that steered her into her criminal behavior is clear and ongoing. An interview with Rose can be found on YouTube.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    An interesting book, relating a very 1970s story. Rose Dugdale, born and raised in the upper levels of British Society (including being a debutante), became progressively more radicalized during the late 1960s. Originally a rebel without a cause, or perhaps : too many diffuse causes, she fixed upon the Irish Troubles as her life's work. It' s not clear whether the IRA welcomed her help (having no need of amateurs and being distrustful of her upper-class English background) and it seems she organ An interesting book, relating a very 1970s story. Rose Dugdale, born and raised in the upper levels of British Society (including being a debutante), became progressively more radicalized during the late 1960s. Originally a rebel without a cause, or perhaps : too many diffuse causes, she fixed upon the Irish Troubles as her life's work. It' s not clear whether the IRA welcomed her help (having no need of amateurs and being distrustful of her upper-class English background) and it seems she organized most of her stunts alone, or with the help of her lovers. This included an attempted aerial bombing (from a hijacked helicopter) of a police station, and at least 2 art heists. The first was in her own parents' house, the second was the Russborough House heist. In both cases there was not really much doubt about whodunnit, and the main challenge after the Russborough House theft was to find the fugitive Rose. This was accomplished by old-fashioned police work : constables knocking on every door of every farm in the Irish countryside, asking whether a woman with a British accent had lodged there. The best part of the book is the story of Rose's activism and her courtroom antics. Her dogmatic views and slogan-esque pronouncements carry the whiff of mothballs, but this was the lingo of the 1970s. I also liked the historical background of the Irish Troubles, including the never-ending list of skirmishes, car bombs and hunger strikes. Here and there the book gave signs of being written in haste or insufficiently edited. For instance, the 2-week hostage situation engineered by Rose's second, Gallagher, when he and some confederates kidnapped the (Dutch) manager of an Irish factory) is dealt with very summarily. And in the last chapters, there are sentences with words missing. The later life of Rose Dugdale is also barely mentioned, and I would have liked to know what became of the son (born while Rose was in prison).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Soumya Tejam

    The Woman Who Stole Vermeer: The True Story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House Art Heist is positioned as the true story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House art heist, but it's also a history of the times in which she participated. Without being able to interview her directly for any material, Anthony M. Amore has done a remarkable job of assembling and fleshing out data points to provide both the setting and motivations behind her actions. The best part of the book is the story of The Woman Who Stole Vermeer: The True Story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House Art Heist is positioned as the true story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House art heist, but it's also a history of the times in which she participated. Without being able to interview her directly for any material, Anthony M. Amore has done a remarkable job of assembling and fleshing out data points to provide both the setting and motivations behind her actions. The best part of the book is the story of Rose's activism and her courtroom antics. Her dogmatic views and slogan-esque pronouncements carry the whiff of mothballs, but this was the lingo of the 1970s. I also liked the historical background of the Irish Troubles, including the never-ending list of skirmishes, car bombs and hunger strikes. It is rare to read the biography of a woman who is remembered for her crimes.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jehree Anderson

    Just wasn’t my cup of tea, was hard to hold my interest. I will say it was a good summary of her life and what she experienced.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    Was given this book as a gift. First 1/3 was very academic. And a lot of back story which only led me to not like Rose. The next section was more interesting with IRA stuff. But overall -eh.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Michael

    A revolution, true crime, art history, and a touch of feminism.... what more could you want?! Well researched and great telling of a fascinating piece of history

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    I love reading about art theft.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    First, it is quite remarkable that I have been able to see all of Johanne Vermeer’s paintings for how often they seem to get stolen. Well, I’ve seen all but “The Concert”, still missing from the heist of Boston’s 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, but I saw its empty frame. Second, reading Anthony M. Amore’s book, “The Woman Who Stole Vermeer: The True Story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House Art Heist,” about an English debutante turned militant extremist after your own country just h First, it is quite remarkable that I have been able to see all of Johanne Vermeer’s paintings for how often they seem to get stolen. Well, I’ve seen all but “The Concert”, still missing from the heist of Boston’s 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, but I saw its empty frame. Second, reading Anthony M. Amore’s book, “The Woman Who Stole Vermeer: The True Story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House Art Heist,” about an English debutante turned militant extremist after your own country just had an attempted coup by its own militant extremists, is not a good idea. Despite the fact that Dugdale was fighting for the noble cause of helping Northern Ireland free itself from British imperial rule (unlike our country’s terrorists), her adherence to direct and violent confrontation above all else turned my stomach. She is a much more sympathetic person earlier in her life when she eschewed the normal role of upper-class girls: forgoing a university education for a “season” to find a husband. She yearned for an education and eventually got one at Oxford and later, Mt. Holyoke. Her studies in economics lead her to renounce her family and class origins and fight for the poor in London. From there she became interested in the Irish “Troubles” and worked tirelessly to transport arms and fight for their crusade. However, this did not mean that she wanted to fight with the IRA, who never fully trusted her or her motives. She found their methods not fervent enough (regardless of their ceaseless bombings) and vowed for more extreme action. As a fringe-member, she often disrupted the work the IRA was trying to do. To put it bluntly: she was obnoxious. Her violent exploits in Ireland make her infamous enough, but her notoriety comes from her being the only female to commit an art heist and the biggest theft in the world at that time. In order to gain some leverage to help some political prisoners, she orchestrated the theft of Vermeer’s “Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid” and many other paintings from the esteemed Russborough House. This was the most interesting part of the book, as it focused on Vermeer and art theft, but unfortunately, it is also the shortest part of the book. Then it was back to Dugdale and her obnoxious behavior. I wanted more Vermeer. Here is a spoiler: You can see “Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid” at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin; it is surrounded by other similar-looking inside scenes from other Dutch artists, but you will know it immediately. It’s a Vermeer. (I also recommend popping into the nearby Hansel and Gretel Patisserie for a piece of Bakewell tart.)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Well, I love all things Vermeer, and I really hope to live long enough to see the return of The Concert to the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, from which it disappeared in 1990. But no one, I believe, would like to solve the mystery of that heist more than the author of this book, Anthony Amore, head of security for the Gardner. It has been rumored for years that the IRA may have been behind the theft of The Concert, which is probably how Amore became acquainted with the revolutionary Rose Dugda Well, I love all things Vermeer, and I really hope to live long enough to see the return of The Concert to the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, from which it disappeared in 1990. But no one, I believe, would like to solve the mystery of that heist more than the author of this book, Anthony Amore, head of security for the Gardner. It has been rumored for years that the IRA may have been behind the theft of The Concert, which is probably how Amore became acquainted with the revolutionary Rose Dugdale whose "true story" this book tells. The British Dugdale was born into great privilege, was a debutante, went to Oxford and earned a PhD. However, along the way, Rose got caught up in the revolutionary spirit of Fidel and Che following a visit to Cuba in the 60s. She seems to have chosen the IRA as her revolutionary cause because it was convenient to her home, and it fit nicely with what first came across as parental rebellion when she was in her 20s. But Rose meant business, got more involved through her love interests, and got to a point of hiring a helicopter to drop bombs made from milk cans (a failed terrorist attempt). She was also generous with her funding, and had oodles of it to underwrite those involved with the mischief of the Troubles. It is not until halfway into the book that we have two Vermeer thefts, the first of The Guitar Player from Kenwood House (unsolved, but Amore suspects Dugdale), and the one in the book's title at Russborough House, where she took Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid, and a whole bunch of other valuable art pieces. For these the band of thieves demanded the IRA Price sisters (on hunger strike) be transferred from an English prison to one in Northern Ireland. Their are a few problems with this book--the main one being that Rose Dugdale seems like an obnoxious (not not always interesting) brat to begin with. The author did not interview the aging Rose, nor it seems many who knew her, so it was difficult to both understand her and her real motives, and to have sympathy for her for the ordeal she chose for herself. Secondly, the book lacks drama. Another book I just read that overlaps with this story, "Say Nothing" read like a true crime mystery. Rose et al., left a bucket of clues so that she was suspected and apprehended very shortly after the theft--there was no suspense involved. Rose has remained in Ireland, so I can only imagine her dedication to the Republic was genuine, but other than the Vermeer connection, her life doesn't seem to be worth a full bio.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay Mack

    Falsely advertised premise - this is not a book about an art heist or, for a great portion of it, Rose Dugdale. It's a non-fiction historical account that I found to be primarily focused on the political history of the Provisional IRA with allusions to some of the Provos' greatest scandals in the 1970s. If this is what you are looking for, I would maybe give it 3 stars. It is exceedingly detailed and researched, but to a fault - any narrative direction or momentum is somewhat lost, with multitud Falsely advertised premise - this is not a book about an art heist or, for a great portion of it, Rose Dugdale. It's a non-fiction historical account that I found to be primarily focused on the political history of the Provisional IRA with allusions to some of the Provos' greatest scandals in the 1970s. If this is what you are looking for, I would maybe give it 3 stars. It is exceedingly detailed and researched, but to a fault - any narrative direction or momentum is somewhat lost, with multitudinous footnotes to media coverage of these exploits and stand-offs (which should be more interesting than they are to read). The heists aren't even mentioned til about 50% in by Kindle's estimates (the book ends at ~80%, followed by photographs and whatnot), and a great portion of that first half isn't really about Rose so much either as the political and social context of the day. At the point we actually get to the heist I had been questioning whether to continue and powered on at the first mention of Vermeer. Disappointingly, even the heists are covered but briefly and in dry detail - perhaps 1.5-2 chapters out of 16 even discuss these events - and only the most superficial discussion of the art work, in my opinion. Overall, it reads like a dissertation gone awry, with a lot of interesting research but a dearth of focus and trajectory (typos and missing words included - it appears even the editor and author were bored in the end). In the same spirit, the epilogue feels like someone just wanted it to end (as much as I did) and attempt in a few brief pages to re-summarize the two pertinent chapters and bring the work back to its marketing point. Case in point: the last paragraph truly reads like a student just trying to wrap things up... in the tritest and quickest way possible.

  16. 5 out of 5

    J. Shelley

    Anthony Amore's The Woman Who Stole Vermeer is a study of Rose Dugdale, a revolutionary in a not-so-distant time of revolution, the 1970's. Amore is the security officer of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MA. He has assembled a well-researched story about Dugdale and the era in which she made her mark as a rare woman in the world of revolution and robbery. The style is thorough and detailed, as you would expect from a person who looks at theft as an act best understood by a study o Anthony Amore's The Woman Who Stole Vermeer is a study of Rose Dugdale, a revolutionary in a not-so-distant time of revolution, the 1970's. Amore is the security officer of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MA. He has assembled a well-researched story about Dugdale and the era in which she made her mark as a rare woman in the world of revolution and robbery. The style is thorough and detailed, as you would expect from a person who looks at theft as an act best understood by a study of motive and skill. I particularly enjoyed Amore's early review of the counter-cultural movement in America and Great Britain in the sixties and early seventies. He suggests that it was the ideas behind these revolutionary movements that inspired Rose Dugdale to join the fight for Irish independence. Along the way it struck me how similar the late sixties and today are. A generation of young people in the late 60's were raised on the new technology of universal television just as the civil rights movement was peaking. In the late 2010's a generation of young people have been raised on the technology of information everywhere just as the social rights movement was peaking. Both became determined to change the world. The story of Rose Dugdale offers a window, perhaps, into understanding the young revolutionaries of today.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I was extremely disappointed with this book. The title gives a reader the impression that this story is completely about the Vermeer paintings and the art heist that occurred. Wrong. It isn’t until page 140 that the stolen pieces are mentioned. About 40 pages later the heist and the investigation is all wrapped up, and we are forced to turn our attention back to all of Rose’s issues. I kept reading because I really wanted to know about the art and the heist, and I had already committed so much o I was extremely disappointed with this book. The title gives a reader the impression that this story is completely about the Vermeer paintings and the art heist that occurred. Wrong. It isn’t until page 140 that the stolen pieces are mentioned. About 40 pages later the heist and the investigation is all wrapped up, and we are forced to turn our attention back to all of Rose’s issues. I kept reading because I really wanted to know about the art and the heist, and I had already committed so much of my time reading about the insufferable Rose to get to the part I cared about. Then I felt obligated to keep reading after the brief mention of the theft, hoping there would be something more written about it. But once again it turned into the Rose show. Basically all I learned from this story is that Rose Dugdale appropriates Irish culture, has Daddy/Mommy issues, loves dating criminals, and is a complete psychopath. She has no clue what she is fighting for, but as long as she thinks she’s a badass doing it, she’s achieved her goal.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bridget Johnson (Jameson)

    The biography of Rose Dugdale, a British heiress whose revolutionary political interests led to her to commit several crimes as she tried to further the cause of Irish independence. Among those are one, possibly two, art thefts, as referenced in the title. I thought this was going to be a lot more about art theft. The crimes are explained, and there’s some nice background on Vermeer which I appreciated, but because Rose Dugdale didn’t participate in this book there’s a lack of detail about the cr The biography of Rose Dugdale, a British heiress whose revolutionary political interests led to her to commit several crimes as she tried to further the cause of Irish independence. Among those are one, possibly two, art thefts, as referenced in the title. I thought this was going to be a lot more about art theft. The crimes are explained, and there’s some nice background on Vermeer which I appreciated, but because Rose Dugdale didn’t participate in this book there’s a lack of detail about the crimes - plus she’s only admitted to one of the two. This is really a biography and the art thefts are like two chapters. I definitely benefited from having read Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe for a lot more context about the IRA and the Troubles. The most interesting thing to me about Rose Dugdale was that she wasn’t in the IRA although she professed to be acting for the cause of Irish independence. The IRA was basically like, “she doesn’t even go here.” And Rose just went merrily on planning her own little crimes.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jerry Baird

    An interesting read focused on the revoltionary times of the 7os in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Rose Dugdale was an authoritarian heiress from England who deserted her position of affluence to raise hell across England and Ireland for about 8 years culminating on an 8 million dollar heist of precious art including "The Lady Writing A Letter with Her Maid" The story is more about the IRA and the Northern Ireland Republican revolt than the Art of Vermeer, but both are tied together well. I An interesting read focused on the revoltionary times of the 7os in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Rose Dugdale was an authoritarian heiress from England who deserted her position of affluence to raise hell across England and Ireland for about 8 years culminating on an 8 million dollar heist of precious art including "The Lady Writing A Letter with Her Maid" The story is more about the IRA and the Northern Ireland Republican revolt than the Art of Vermeer, but both are tied together well. I came from reading this to understand the IRA much more today than probably during my time in the 7os with the Vietnam War, Internal US Strife, and Boomer revolt during that period. A good read, especially for those who were growing up in the 60s to remember this past history and the results leading up to today with the voice of the people being heard again.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    This is a very interesting book that combines history, art theft and personality. While positioned as the true story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House art heist, it's also a history of the times in which she participated. Extensive research is evident throughout the book as the author unfolds Rose's life. Without being able to interview her directly for any material, the author has done a remarkable job of assembling and fleshing out data points to provide both the setting and motivation This is a very interesting book that combines history, art theft and personality. While positioned as the true story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House art heist, it's also a history of the times in which she participated. Extensive research is evident throughout the book as the author unfolds Rose's life. Without being able to interview her directly for any material, the author has done a remarkable job of assembling and fleshing out data points to provide both the setting and motivations behind her actions. Reading more academic in places, this book is an excellent exploration to the history and people of the IRA and the conflicts of Northern Ireland. Enjoyable and informative book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    The Life Of A True Radical and Revolutionary This is a fascinating and interesting account of Rose Dugdale who abandoned a life of comfort and means to advocate for the self-rule of Northern Ireland by any means necessary. Art thief, bomber, well versed in the philosophy of political, economic and cultural dissent, she comes across as a person committed to true justice and meaningful change despite her criminal misdeeds. This is a well-written, thoroughly researched account of “The Troubles” chan The Life Of A True Radical and Revolutionary This is a fascinating and interesting account of Rose Dugdale who abandoned a life of comfort and means to advocate for the self-rule of Northern Ireland by any means necessary. Art thief, bomber, well versed in the philosophy of political, economic and cultural dissent, she comes across as a person committed to true justice and meaningful change despite her criminal misdeeds. This is a well-written, thoroughly researched account of “The Troubles” channeled through the eventful life of Rose Dugdale.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Reba

    I absolutely love my small but mighty Faculty Book Club. This was another selection for that group, and honestly, the conversation about this book was even better than reading it. There was a lot going on in this book, it was a little all over the place, but I did learn a lot. I also spent a lot of time going down various rabbit holes, including but not limited to; Vermeer (obviously), the Price sisters, videos on Gaelic pronunciations of names, and landmarks of Ireland. It was just that kind of I absolutely love my small but mighty Faculty Book Club. This was another selection for that group, and honestly, the conversation about this book was even better than reading it. There was a lot going on in this book, it was a little all over the place, but I did learn a lot. I also spent a lot of time going down various rabbit holes, including but not limited to; Vermeer (obviously), the Price sisters, videos on Gaelic pronunciations of names, and landmarks of Ireland. It was just that kind of book!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sally Fouhse

    Book club selection, otherwise I might not have chosen this book. A rather odd story, poor little rich girl gets radicalized in the 1970's, and even though she's British, the cause she chooses is Ireland and The Troubles. I didn't understand her devotion to a cause with which she has no direct connection. She used her wealth and priviledge to rail against those with wealth and priviledge. Go figure. Book club selection, otherwise I might not have chosen this book. A rather odd story, poor little rich girl gets radicalized in the 1970's, and even though she's British, the cause she chooses is Ireland and The Troubles. I didn't understand her devotion to a cause with which she has no direct connection. She used her wealth and priviledge to rail against those with wealth and priviledge. Go figure.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    This is really a biography of Rose Dugdale, with the theft of the Vermeer being incidental to the story. However, Dugdale is a fascinating character to read about. She left British society to be involved with the IRA, but the IRA didn't want her (and in fact disavowed her efforts around exchanging the Vermeer/other artworks for political prisoners), and yet she still saw herself as a grand revolutionary for the cause. And yet again showing that art theft doesn't actually pay in any way at all. This is really a biography of Rose Dugdale, with the theft of the Vermeer being incidental to the story. However, Dugdale is a fascinating character to read about. She left British society to be involved with the IRA, but the IRA didn't want her (and in fact disavowed her efforts around exchanging the Vermeer/other artworks for political prisoners), and yet she still saw herself as a grand revolutionary for the cause. And yet again showing that art theft doesn't actually pay in any way at all.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    I had to continually force myself to keep reading this book. It just seemed to me to get so far in the weeds discussing the protagonist, Rose Dugdale. I kept waiting. And waiting. And waiting...until the book gave me what the title promised...a real-life story of art theft of the highest order. Yes, she stole a number of paintings, including some Vermeers. By the time that happened, I was mentally checked out, though.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I can understand many of the complaints about this book. Rose Dugdale did not give an interview for this book, and it shows. The author fails to give enough depth to her as a character to make her really sympathetic and interesting. Also, those who want a book centered around art history and art theft will be disappointed. I would have been disappointed if the book was covering any topic other than Northern Irish history, which I am always looking for books on.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    More information than I ever wanted to know about the IRA. The Vermeer, and other pieces of art that Rose Dugdale and her fellow revolutionaries stole, were soon found. A lot of emphasis was placed on the fact that she was the first woman to steal a famous piece of art work, as if her actions were praise-worthy. I did not hold her actions in bombing and stealing in such high esteem. I am glad that the art was found and not damaged.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Denise Rafferty

    True Crime at it's Best Well written. This is not a genre that I usually read. It it is the time frame that I have lived and was not aware of the story. A little too much detail for me. I am left with a distaste for the British rule, their prison system, what appears to be inept police investigation for the times and continued preferential treatment of the classes. Stodgy True Crime at it's Best Well written. This is not a genre that I usually read. It it is the time frame that I have lived and was not aware of the story. A little too much detail for me. I am left with a distaste for the British rule, their prison system, what appears to be inept police investigation for the times and continued preferential treatment of the classes. Stodgy

  29. 5 out of 5

    Suzie

    This book is the story of the radicalization of Rose Dugdale and her relationship with the IRA, but the Vermeer heist is actually just a small part of the story. It's written in the style of a research paper. We all need to learn more about how people develop violent, radical views, so I think that's the value of this book. This book is the story of the radicalization of Rose Dugdale and her relationship with the IRA, but the Vermeer heist is actually just a small part of the story. It's written in the style of a research paper. We all need to learn more about how people develop violent, radical views, so I think that's the value of this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Micebyliz

    Having read Say Nothing, i was aware this history, but this gave a different view in a way. It is still hard to understand some of the motivation to be that militant with regard to art because i don't see it as effective. I felt badly for her parents who continued to love and try to help her throughout. Having read Say Nothing, i was aware this history, but this gave a different view in a way. It is still hard to understand some of the motivation to be that militant with regard to art because i don't see it as effective. I felt badly for her parents who continued to love and try to help her throughout.

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