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Slavery and Public History: The Tough Stuff…

Slavery and Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory (original 2006; edition 2008)

by James Oliver Horton (Editor), Lois E. Horton (Editor), Ira Berlin (Contributor), Gary B. Nash (Contributor), Edward T. Linenthal (Contributor)8 more, David W. Blight (Contributor), James Oliver Horton (Contributor), Lois E. Horton (Contributor), John Michael Vlach (Contributor), Joanne Melish (Contributor), Marie Tyler-McGraw (Contributor), Dwight T. Pitcaithley (Contributor), Bruce Levine (Contributor)

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Title:Slavery and Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory
Authors:James Oliver Horton (Editor)
Other authors:Lois E. Horton (Editor), Ira Berlin (Contributor), Gary B. Nash (Contributor), Edward T. Linenthal (Contributor), David W. Blight (Contributor)7 more, James Oliver Horton (Contributor), Lois E. Horton (Contributor), John Michael Vlach (Contributor), Joanne Melish (Contributor), Marie Tyler-McGraw (Contributor), Dwight T. Pitcaithley (Contributor), Bruce Levine (Contributor)
Info:The University of North Carolina Press (2008)
Collections:Your library, Non-Fiction
Tags:public history / museum studies, slavery, UGRR, historiography

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Slavery and Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory by James Oliver Horton (Editor) (2006)



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Public history, history presented in museums, parks and at historical sites, is the sharp end of scholarship. We Americans know our history. We remember what our parents, grandparents, and teachers have told us about the way things were. We have seen John Wayne die defending the Alamo, and die again building airstrips in the South Pacific. However, our historical memory is often at odds with historical fact. James Oliver Horton and Lois Horton’s 2009 book “Slavery and Public History: the Tough Stuff of American Memory” is a collection of essays examining the causes and outcomes of some recent controversies that have resulted when memory and fact collide.

All of the essays that the Hortons chose for the book are readable easy to follow. Given that a public historian's job is to present complicated issues and events in a manner acceptable to experts and understandable to school children I would not expect anything less. In fact, he difference between “historical memory” and “historical fact” a distinction I have stumbled over in the past, is better explained here than in any historiography I have read. In addition to the opening theoretical articles there are several interesting case studies presented, the controversy on the new building for the Liberty Bell and its location on the site of the Presidents House, introducing the stories of bonded servants to tours at historical sites like Monticello and “My Old Kentucky Home” Park, and reinterpreting Richmond Virginia’s public space to encourage historical tourism in the new, New South, are interesting and, for me, somewhat surprising. Edward Lnienthal wraps the book up by showing that our disconnect between our “historical memory” and our factual, documented history is not restricted to slavery or even to the United States by pointing out similar disconnects around the world.

If you have ever disagreed with something you read in a museum or on a monument you might enjoy this book. ( )
  TLCrawford | Nov 14, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Horton, James OliverEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Horton, Lois E.Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Berlin, IraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blight, David D.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Levine, BruceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Linenthal, Edward T.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Melish, JoanneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nash, Gary B.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pitcaithley, Dwight T.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tyler-McGraw, MarieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vlach, John MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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A collection of essays that focus on public history and the difficulty that public historians encounter in dealing with the history of American slavery.

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