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This title in other editions

How We Forgot the Cold War: A Historical Journey Across America

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How We Forgot the Cold War: A Historical Journey Across America Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“Heres a book that would've split the sides of Thucydides. Wieners magical mystery tour of Cold War museums is simultaneously hilarious and the best thing ever written on public history and its contestation.“ —Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz

“Jon Wiener, an astute observer of how history is perceived by the general public, shows us how official efforts to shape popular memory of the Cold War have failed. His journey across America to visit exhibits, monuments, and other historical sites, demonstrates how quickly the Cold War has faded from popular consciousness. A fascinating and entertaining book.” —Eric Foner, author of Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863–1877

"In How We Forgot the Cold War, Jon Wiener shows how conservatives tried—and failed—to commemorate the Cold War as a noble victory over the global forces of tyranny, a 'good war' akin to World War II. Displaying splendid skills as a reporter in addition to his discerning eye as a scholar, this historian's travelogue convincingly shows how the right sought to extend its preferred policy of 'rollback' to the arena of public memory. In a country where historical memory has become an obsession, Wieners ability to document the ambiguities and absences in these commemorations is an unusual accomplishment.” —Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America

“In this terrific piece of scholarly journalism, Jon Wiener imaginatively combines scholarship on the Cold War, contemporary journalism, and his own observations of various sites commemorating the era to describe both what they contain and, just as importantly, what they do not. By interrogating the standard conservative brand of American triumphalism, Wiener offers an interpretation of the Cold War that emphasizes just how unnecessary the conflict was and how deleterious its aftereffects have really been.”—Ellen Schrecker, author of Many Are The Crimes: McCarthyism in America

Synopsis:

Hours after the USSR collapsed in 1991, Congress began making plans to establish the official memory of the Cold War. Conservatives dominated the proceedings, spending millions to portray the conflict as a triumph of good over evil and a defeat of totalitarianism equal in significance to World War II. In this provocative book, historian Jon Wiener visits Cold War monuments, museums, and memorials across the United States to find out how the era is being remembered. The authors journey provides a history of the Cold War, one that turns many conventional notions on their heads.

In an engaging travelogue that takes readers to sites such as the life-size recreation of Berlins “Checkpoint Charlie” at the Reagan Library, the fallout shelter display at the Smithsonian, and exhibits about “Sgt. Elvis,” Americas most famous Cold War veteran, Wiener discovers that the Cold War isnt being remembered. Its being forgotten. Despite an immense effort, the conservatives monuments werent built, their historic sites have few visitors, and many of their museums have now shifted focus to other topics. Proponents of the notion of a heroic “Cold War victory” failed; the public didnt buy the official story. Lively, readable, and well-informed, this book expands current discussions about memory and history, and raises intriguing questions about popular skepticism toward official ideology.

About the Author

Jon Wiener is Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. Among his books are Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files (UC Press) and Historians in Trouble: Plagiarism, Fraud and Politics in the Ivory Tower.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction: Forgetting the Cold War

Part One. The End

1. Hippie Day at the Reagan Library

2. The Victims of Communism Museum: A Study in Failure

Part Two. The Beginning: 1946–1949

3. Getting Started: The Churchill Memorial in Missouri

4. Searching for the Pumpkin Patch: The Whittaker Chambers National Historic Landmark

5. Naming Names, from Laramie to Beverly Hills

6. Secrets on Display: The CIA Museum and the NSA Museum

7. Cold War Cleanup: The Hanford Tour

Part Three. The 1950s

8. Test Site Tourism in Nevada

9. Memorial Day in Lakewood and La Jolla: Korean War Monuments of California

10. Code Name “Ethel”: The Rosenbergs in the Museums

11. Mound Builders of Missouri: Nuclear Waste at Weldon Spring

12. Cold War Elvis: Sgt. Presley at the General George Patton Museum

Part Four. The 1960s and After

13. The Graceland of Cold War Tourism: The Greenbrier Bunker

14. Ikes Emmy: Monuments to the Military-Industrial Complex

15. The Fallout Shelters of North Dakota

16. “It Had to Do with Cuba and Missiles”: Thirteen Days in October

17. The Museum of the Missile Gap: Arizonas Titan Missile Memorial

18. The Museum of Détente: The Nixon Library in Yorba Linda

Part Five. Alternative Approaches

19. Rocky Flats: Uncovering the Secrets

20. CNNs Cold War: Equal Time for the Russians

21. Harry Trumans Amazing Museum

Conclusion: History, Memory, and the Cold War

Epilogue: From the Cold War to the War in Iraq

Acknowledgments

Notes

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520271418
Author:
Wiener, Jon
Publisher:
University of California Press
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
US History - 20th Century
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20121031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
40 b/w photographs, 1 map
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.25 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » US History » General
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » 20th Century
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » Historiography
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » Historiography

How We Forgot the Cold War: A Historical Journey Across America Used Hardcover
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Product details 384 pages University of California Press - English 9780520271418 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Hours after the USSR collapsed in 1991, Congress began making plans to establish the official memory of the Cold War. Conservatives dominated the proceedings, spending millions to portray the conflict as a triumph of good over evil and a defeat of totalitarianism equal in significance to World War II. In this provocative book, historian Jon Wiener visits Cold War monuments, museums, and memorials across the United States to find out how the era is being remembered. The authors journey provides a history of the Cold War, one that turns many conventional notions on their heads.

In an engaging travelogue that takes readers to sites such as the life-size recreation of Berlins “Checkpoint Charlie” at the Reagan Library, the fallout shelter display at the Smithsonian, and exhibits about “Sgt. Elvis,” Americas most famous Cold War veteran, Wiener discovers that the Cold War isnt being remembered. Its being forgotten. Despite an immense effort, the conservatives monuments werent built, their historic sites have few visitors, and many of their museums have now shifted focus to other topics. Proponents of the notion of a heroic “Cold War victory” failed; the public didnt buy the official story. Lively, readable, and well-informed, this book expands current discussions about memory and history, and raises intriguing questions about popular skepticism toward official ideology.

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