Glenn is a World War II veteran. He drags his grandson, Michael, to Sotheby’s Auction Rooms and sells a painting for $3,700,000. Michael never knew the painting hanging on his grandfather’s wall was so valuable. He is shocked by the money paid for it and demands to know how Glenn acquired the painting.
Glenn takes Michael to Central Park to visit the statue of Balto. He tells Michael the story of Balto the sled dog who delivered medicine to Nome in 1925 and saved a whole town from an epidemic of diphtheria. He reminds his grandson that Balto was once Michael’s childhood hero and uses the statue as a metaphor to speak of the other heroes who have no monument.
Over a weekend, Glenn reveals that he drove a jeep for the Monuments Men, who tracked down looted art. Glenn’s experiences bring Michael to an understanding of courage, duty, and character. In the process, Michael learns of Edith Standen and Rose Valland and discovers that manliness is not restricted to males.
Balto’s Nose takes place during World War II, when the Nazis stole 22,000,000 works of art. Their haul of loot included all of the great masterpieces of European, painting, sculpture, literature, and music. Balto’s Nose celebrates the Monuments Men, the scholars in uniform and the soldiers who tracked down the stolen art and brought the thieves to justice. They were of “the Greatest Generation” but their courage and their devotion to civilization was their greatest gift to future generations.