From Publishers Weekly
Kammen's massive study makes an important contribution to our understanding of how Americans define themselves and the parameters of freedom. Illustrations.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Within the last ten years, many American historians have discovered the importance of collective "memory" in shaping their nation. In some respects following the lead of influential historians from other nations, they now try to understand the forces that shaped the ways in which Americans remember and use their past and what significant events altered their consciousness of history. Long before recent scholars began decrying the dominance of obscure monographs and calling for greater convergence of ideas in historical studies, Kammen had demonstrated that synthesis could be accomplished without sacrificing richness of detail and divergent interpretations. Moreover, he showed that historians could communicate with one another and a wider audience at the same time. This book, part of Kammen's multivolume rethinking of American history, presents his view of the growing dependence on and debate over collective memory as a historical force during four periods since 1870. With great skill he distinguishes the ways Americans adapted their views of the past to fit the needs of their present circumstances. He weaves a command of formal cultural history with a thorough understanding of popular culture into an astonishingly wonderful book that enlightens not only the history of the past century and a quarter but also the present.- Charles K. Piehl, Mankato State Univ., Minn.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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