These are some of the books on my bookshelf that helped me learn about monuments. (If you follow the linked book title and buy it from Amazon the peaceCENTER gets a small amount deposited into our account and it doesn’t cost you a penny more.)

American Sacred Space
by David Chidester, Edward Tabor Linenthal
Indiana University Press (1995)
Examines the creation — and the conflict behind the creation — of sacred space in America. These essays visit places in America where economic, political, and social forces clash over the sacred and the profane.

Confederate Symbols in the Contemporary South
edited by J. Michael Martinez, William D. Richardson, and Ron McNinch-Su
University Press of Florida (2000)
In essays by historians, philosophers, lawyers, and political scientists, we see the complex and changing landscape in which fights over Confederate symbols have played out.

Enduring Legacy: Rhetoric and Ritual of the Lost Cause
by W. Stuart Towns
University of Alabama Press (2012)
Not about monuments, but rather the crucial role of rhetoric and oratory in creating and propagating a “Lost Cause” public memory of the American South.

The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History
By David Lowenthal
Cambridge University Press (1999)
A wonderful explanation of the difference between the academic discipline of history and Heritage, or history put to practical use to inspire and to reinforce values.

History Wars: The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past
edited by Edward T. Linenthal and Tom Engelhardt
Metropolitan Books (1996)
Eight prominent historians consider the angry swirl of emotions that now surrounds public memory.

Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong
by James W. Loewen
Touchstone Books (2000)
Loewen takes a region-by-region tour of the United States, pointing out false historical markers.

Memorial Mania: Public Feeling in America
by Erika Doss
University of Chicago Press (2010)
Doss shows how the desire to memorialize the past disposes itself to individual anniversaries and personal grievances, to stories of tragedy and trauma, and to the social and political agendas of diverse numbers of Americans. By offering a framework for understanding these sites, she engages the larger issues behind our culture of commemoration.

Mickey Mouse History and Other Essays on American Memory
by Mike Wallace
Temple Univ Press (1996)
Whether his subject is multimillion-dollar theme parks owned by powerful corporations, urban museums, or television docudramas, Wallace shows how depictions of history are shaped by assumptions about which pasts are worth saving, whose stories are worth telling, what gets left, and who decides.

Religion, Violence, Memory and Place
edited by Oren Baruch Stier and J. Shawn Landres
Indiana University Press (2006)
Scholars of religious studies, sociology, history, and political science, as well as African, Caribbean, Jewish, and Native American studies, examine the religious memorialization of violent acts that are linked to particular sites.

Remembering the Alamo: Memory, Modernity, and the Master Symbol
by Richard R. Flores
University of Texas Press (2002)
How the Alamo’s transformation into an American cultural icon helped to shape social, economic, and political relations between Anglo and Mexican Texans from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries.

Sacred Ground: Americans and Their Battlefields
by Edward Tabor Linenthal
University of Illinois Press (1993)
This is a seminal book on the political struggles over battlefields: Lexington and Concord, the Alamo, Gettysburg, Little Bighorn, and Pearl Harbor.

Shadowed Ground: America’s Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy
by Kenneth E. Foote
University of Texas Press (1997)
Foote explores how and why Americans have memorialized–or not–the sites of tragic and violent events

Slavery and Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory
edited by James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton
The New Press (2006)
An analysis of how people remember their past and how the lessons they draw influence American politics and culture today.

Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves
by Kirk Savage
Princeton Univ Press (999)
Art historian Kirk Savage (Univ. Pittsburgh) traces the development of monuments in the context of the nation’s still-uncompleted attempt to deal with the issues of race and collective memory.

Stricken Field: The Little Bighorn since 1876
by Jerome A. Greene
University of Oklahoma Press (2008)
As park custodians, American Indians, and others have contested how the site should be preserved and interpreted for posterity, the Little Bighorn has turned into a battlefield in more ways than one.

What Can And Can’t Be Said: Race, Uplift, And Monument Building in the Contemporary South
by Dell Upton
Yale University Press (2015)
A study of monuments to the civil rights movement and African American history that have been erected in the U.S. South over the past three decades.

Share This