Robert K. Wittman joined the FBI as a Special Agent in 1988. As a result of specialized training in art, antiques, jewelry and gem identification, he served as the FBI’s investigative expert involving cultural property crime. During his 20 year FBI career, he recovered more than $300 million worth of stolen art and cultural property which resulted in numerous prosecutions and convictions. As a result of his unique experience Wittman coauthored the FBI Cultural Property Investigative Manual in 2001. In 2005, he created the FBI’s rapid deployment national Art Crime Team (ACT). Wittman has represented the United States throughout the world conducting investigations and instructing international police and museums in recovery and use of high asset value security techniques. In 2010, Wittman penned his New York Times bestselling memoir Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures. His second book, The Devil’s Diary: Alfred Rosenberg and the Stolen Secrets of the Third Reich (Harper) is a worldwide best seller published in 26 languages in 30 countries.
In Priceless, Wittman pulls back the curtain on his remarkable career for the first time. 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.
A groundbreaking World War II narrative wrapped in a riveting detective story, The Devil’s Diary investigates the disappearance of a private diary penned by one of Adolf Hitler’s top aides—Alfred Rosenberg, his “chief philosopher”—and mines its long-hidden pages to deliver a fresh, eye-opening account of the Nazi rise to power and the genesis of the Holocaust. 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.
Wittman was featured in the History Channel series “Lost History’ and recently filmed an investigation into the lost artifacts of General George Custer’s brigade at the battle of Little Big Horn in Montana which will be aired in two 2-hour segments later this year on the History Channel. Recently he was cast to appear in Season three of the hit History Channel TV show “Hunting Hitler.” Wittman is president of Robert Wittman Inc. the firm specializes in consulting in art matters which include expert witness testimony, investigation and collection management.
Praise for The Devil’s Diary:
“This volume cannot be recommended too highly. It is another smoking gun with which to condemn the Third Reich and further serves to reinforce what has become a 70-year mantra: We should never forget nor, more importantly, repeat man’s worst inhumanity to man.”
--New York Journal of Books
“A fascinating scholarly detective story centering on the often overlooked ideological architect of the Third Reich...The authors do an excellent job of teasing out the fine details and placing them in the larger context...A footnote to a much larger story but a welcome one.”
“The efforts to recover [the diary] make up the most interesting part of art-crime expert Wittman and Pulitzer-winning Kinney’s frequently riveting, serpentine account featuring a Nuremberg prosecutor, a museum archivist, and an FBI agent...The authors have provided an engrossing tale of a detective-style search.”
“The Devil’s Diary is the story of the diary, its eventual recovery, and its harrowing content, providing an intense look at one of the major architects of the Holocaust.”
--Barnes and Noble Reads
“The Devil’s Diary has all the elements of a great book: a hugely influential but forgotten confidant of Adolf Hitler, a long-lost Nazi journal, and a crusading Jewish lawyer who spent his life at war with the leading men of the Third Reich.”
--Joaquin "Jack" Garcia, New York Times bestselling author of Making Jack Falcone
“The Devil’s Diary is a very rewarding read. While exposing in fresh, stunning detail the role Alfred Rosenberg played in the Holocaust, Kinney and Wittman also reveal the oft-tangled but fascinating world where history is recorded and written. Well done!”
--Neal Bascomb, national bestselling author of Hunting Eichmann and The Winter Fortress
“Alfred Rosenberg...arises in horrific clarity in Wittman and Kinney’s engrossing book. Rosenberg’s personal writings, which were nearly lost to history, receive a dramatic interpretation in The Devil’s Diary. It’s an intriguing read for anyone fascinated by the personalities of Nazi Germany.”
--Jack El-Hai, author of The Nazi and the Psychiatrist
“The Devil’s Diary is lively and well written. Part detective story, part history book, it restores Rosenberg to his rightful place in the narrative, a man...who was profoundly influential, not least in providing what meagre intellectual underpinning Nazism could muster...a fascinating read.”
--Roger Moorehouse, author of Killing Hitler, Berlin at War, and The Devil's Alliance
“Those with an interest in German history will find this narrative engaging.”
“A rollicking memoir... investigative details dazzle... Priceless can read at times, not unpleasantly, as if an art history textbook got mixed up at the printer with a screenplay for The Wire.”
--New York Times on Priceless
“Almost every case he recounts has enough intrigue and suspense for a Hollywood screenplay.”
--Washington Post on Priceless
“Genius…riveting…should be a TV series.”
--Los Angeles Times on Priceless