"Thoroughly enlightening....Savage's analytical powers are as taut as his storytelling." --Richard Robbins, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
"should have been a finalist for this year's general non-fiction Pulitzer Prize..."
--Barbara Groseclose, CAA Reviews
From the Inside Flap
Monument Wars is the best single work I've read on the idea of the 'monument' in American culture, the best single analysis and history of Washington's shrines. In his rich and riveting analyses of the Washington Mall, Kirk Savage brilliantly re-animates its monuments with the stories of their often fraught and contentious origins. This is also a philosophical treatise on the paradox of lively American democratic ideals as they find fixed form in stone and mortar. Monument Wars is an outstanding achievement.”James E. Young, author of The Texture of Memory and At Memory's Edge
No one does art history and the history of memory as sublimely as Kirk Savage. In this book of extraordinary research and widely accessible prose, Savage brilliantly shows how America's most sacred and visible public space has evolved. He also demonstrates how the Washington Mall has become, for Americans, the preeminent space where the very idea of a monument has constantly changed. And above all, Savage writes with deep sensitivity about the sometimes tortured, always fascinating politics of national memory. The Mall appears monumentally fixed. But after reading Savage, no one will be able to gaze upon its stunning vistas without realizing that it is a turbulent, unsteady story of how a republic memorializes itself.”David W. Blight, author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory
Kirk Savage maps Washington's ubiquitous monuments within the symbolic cityscape fashioned by the city's planners and rulers, creating a luminous, insightful record of our national political enthusiasms and obsessions. At once an art history of monuments and a landscape history of political theater, Monument Wars is a worthy successor to Savage's classic Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves.”Dell Upton, University of California, Los Angeles