DALLAS (AP) — After selling his Dallas oil and gas company and moving to Europe, Robert Edsel found himself in the art-drenched Italian city of Florence, contemplating how so many famous sites and works of art in Europe survived the destruction of World War II.

As the answer emerged, Edsel also found a new mission: Honoring and continuing the work of the Monuments Men, a group that included art experts from Western Allied countries and worked with the military to protect cultural treasures.

Edsel's work over the years, including writing three books, has helped bring their story out of scholarly circles and to the public's attention. That recognition is set to skyrocket in December with the premiere of a movie based on Edsel's book, "The Monuments Men," directed by and starring George Clooney.