The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History
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- Author: David Lowenthal, University of London
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Heritage, while it often constitutes and defines the most positive aspects of culture, is a malleable body of historical text subject to interpretation and easily twisted into myth. When it is appealed to on a national or ethnic level in reactions against racial, religious, or economic oppression, the result is often highly-charged political contention or conflict. The extraordinary theme of this unique book is how the rise of a manifold, crusade-like obsession with tradition and inheritance--both physical and cultural--can lead to either good or evil. In a balanced account of the pros and cons of the rhetoric and spoils of heritage--on the one hand cultural identity and unity, on the other, potential holy war--David Lowenthal discusses the myriad uses and abuses of historical appropriation and offers a rare and accessible account of a concept at once familiar and fraught with complexity. David Lowenthal is Emeritus Professor of Geography at University College London, and the author of the bestselling The Past is a Foreign Country (Cambridge, 1985)Read more
- A brilliant, wide-ranging and entertaining general study of the 'heritage industry'
- Written by David Lowenthal, the very successful and acclaimed author of the well-known book The Past is a Foreign Country (1985)
- First published by Penguin Group (in their Viking imprint, 1997) and now available for the first time in paperback
Reviews & endorsements
"Brave, piquant and impressively broad-ranging." Linda Colley, Times Literary SupplementSee more reviews
"Must reading for public historians." James M. Lindgren, The Public Historian
"The Heritage Crusade and The Past Is a Foreign Country together provide the intellectual underpinning and wider context that any understanding of preservation as meaning and direction requires." Robert Wilson, Preservation (US National Trust)
"...[Lowenthal] is an alert and indefatigable snapper-up of unconsidered trifles. Cheerfully jaundiced, exuberantly glum, he shuffles a kaleidoscope of quotation and comment on every aspect of the heritage phenomenon: books, magazines, newspapers, jokes, anecdotes, and personal experience." Richard Jenkyns, New York Review of Books
"...a major literary achievement....Eschewing model-building for the well-chosen example and literature for social science, Lowenthal has crafted a book that will excite readers of the New York Review of Books as well as those of the Annals...Geographers, no less than historians, ignore it at their peril." Steven Hoelscher, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 1997
"Timely and provocative...brilliant and stimulating pyrotechnic...everything from the Pilgrim Fathers to the Inuits, from Homer's Greece to the rainforests of Brazil...Such an all-embracing approach is commendable and reveals a polymathic mind." Roy Strong, The Sunday Times
"David Lowenthal knows more about the uses and abuses of the past than anyone I know of...The book is filled with fascinating examples of claims and counterclaims made in the name of heritage...There is much in Lowenthal's account that is entertaining, even downright comical. But the author's message is deeply serious, for he warns us that a faith in heritage can produce murderous fanaticism." John R. Gillis, Reviews in American History
"The best book I have read on historic preservation, by the way, is The heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History, by David Lowenthal..." WoodenBoat
"The many writings of David Lowenthal have been helpful to those anxious to sort out the legitimate from the spurious in the twentieth century western preoccupations with organized history and heritage...In publishing ^The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History, Mr. Lowenthal has taken us further down this road and on this excursion he takes time to guide us along several interesting and unexpected detours." Manitoba History, Graham MacDonald, Calgary, Alberta
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- format: Adobe eBook Reader
- isbn: 9781107710641
- availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
Table of Contents
1. Heritage ascendant
2. Personal legacies
3. Collective legacies
4. Heritage assailed
5. The purpose and practice of history
6. The purpose of heritage
7. The practice of heritage
8. Being first
9. Being innate
10. Rivalry and restitution.
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