From Library Journal
In essays that previously appeared in the Radical History Review, Wallace (history, CUNY) explores the purposes of museums, particularly as popular tourist attractions. He is concerned with what the people who started museums originally had in mind to attract poor people and immigrants, for example, in the large urban technology museums and the early, mostly rural reconstructions such as Colonial Williamsburg. In his later chapters, Wallace deals with recent controversies such as the Enola Gay exhibit and Disney's America. He writes from a radical viewpoint in proposing the necessity of bringing people of color into museums; this is usually worn lightly but can become didactic. His style is lively and his musings productive, but the book's ideological focus (and, for the cloth edition, bloated price) make it a purchase only for libraries collecting heavily in curatorship or local history.Fritz Alan Buckallew, Univ. of Central Oklahoma Lib., Edmond
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Mickey Mouse History And Other Essays On Public Memory probes into the struggles over public memory and the trivilization of history that pervades American culture. The recent controversy surrounding the National Air and Space Museum's proposed Enola Gay exhibit was reported as centering on why the U. S. government decided to use the A-bomb against Japan. Mike Wallace scrutinizes the actual development of the exhibit and investigates the ways in which controversy drew in historians, veterans, the media and the general public. 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 out, and who decides. Mickey Mouse History is as entertaining as it informative. Mickey Mouse History is a valuable commentary on the assumptions that underlie contemporary notions of "history". -- Midwest Book Review