Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
How We Forgot the Cold War: A Historical Journey across America Hardcover – October 15, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
"A fascinating and entertaining book." --Eric Foner, author of The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery.
"Combines the author's splendid skills as a reporter with the eye of a scholar. Lively and fun, yes, but also analytically and scholarly grounded. . . a rare and remarkable achievement." -- Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland.
"trenchant . . . and uncommonly frisky." Tom Carson, The American Prospect.
From the Inside Flap
Jon Wiener, an astute observer of how history is perceived by the general public, shows us how official efforts to shape popular memory of the Cold War have failed. His journey across America to visit exhibits, monuments, and other historical sites, demonstrates how quickly the Cold War has faded from popular consciousness. A fascinating and entertaining book.” Eric Foner, author of Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 18631877
"In How We Forgot the Cold War, Jon Wiener shows how conservatives triedand failedto commemorate the Cold War as a noble victory over the global forces of tyranny, a 'good war' akin to World War II. Displaying splendid skills as a reporter in addition to his discerning eye as a scholar, this historian's travelogue convincingly shows how the right sought to extend its preferred policy of 'rollback' to the arena of public memory. In a country where historical memory has become an obsession, Wiener’s ability to document the ambiguities and absences in these commemorations is an unusual accomplishment.” Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America
In this terrific piece of scholarly journalism, Jon Wiener imaginatively combines scholarship on the Cold War, contemporary journalism, and his own observations of various sites commemorating the era to describe both what they contain and, just as importantly, what they do not. By interrogating the standard conservative brand of American triumphalism, Wiener offers an interpretation of the Cold War that emphasizes just how unnecessary the conflict was and how deleterious its aftereffects have really been.”Ellen Schrecker, author of Many Are The Crimes: McCarthyism in America
Top Customer Reviews
The primary battle is between conservatives who see the struggle between the US and USSR as an unavoidable final clash between good and evil, in which the men in white hats prevailed thanks to the leadership of Ronald Reagan. Interpretations from the center and left see a more nuanced struggle between nation states that, if it could not have been avoided, certainly could have been reduced in length and impact. Mainstream policymakers pursued goals of "containment" and deterrence" while conservatives argued for "rollback" and victory. Overall, suggests Weiner, "the Republican right lost all the big policy battles of the Cold War" as presidents from both parties rejected their arguments. Shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, he argues, conservatives in congress began to make plans to establish their interpretation as the official memory of the Cold War.
Weiner crosses the country to find many of the 30 locations where parts of the dismantled Berlin Wall are displayed. He tells the story of the Victims of Communism Museum, authorized by Congress in 1993, but never constructed. He visits the Churchill Museum in Missouri and the blacklist exhibit at the Motion Picture Academy in Beverly Hills. Along the way, Weiner recounts events that were memorialized at each site and comments upon visitors and their reactions. One of his most unusual trips is to the Whitaker Chambers pumpkin patch National Historic Landmark in Maryland.Read more ›
Why — considering the floods of money spent on the military and foreign aid, proxy war casualties, not to mention additional lives lost on Air Force reconnaissance missions — are there not grand monuments or international caliber museums?
This is the foil used by Wiener throughout is book written in with wry and wizened style. A book which is marked by the history it contains as well as by its unbiased analysis and strategic overview of the events of the Cold War. For example, I was surprised to see a map showing a few dozen sites across the United States devoted to an event or interest of the Cold War. Quite a lot! But no grand museum or encompassing remembrances, even at presidential libraries. Odd that the huge cost and effort of the Cold War be treated apparently in a dismissive fashion, perhaps?
Not only are the chapters enjoyable but the captions are more than informative, not merely descriptive, and often wryly observant.Read more ›
Written with wit, an easy style and a provocative set of questions about the important role public landmarks, museums, movies and television play in history and memory, this book will intrigue amateur historians to set off across the country, will engender criticism from the protectors of the political Right's version of who won the Cold War and will stand as testament to how quickly attitudes about the past can outpace the memorials designed to preserve them.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Extremely interesting premise and a well written summary of how American museums have ignored or downplayed the Cold War.Published 9 months ago by UA UNCW
Imagine a book that possesses the hipness of Sarah Vowell's writing, the magnificent historical insight of Howard Zinn, and the searing honesty and scathing humor of Bill Maher. Read morePublished on January 19, 2013 by Sara Pearson
Jon Wiener combines the meticulous and far-reaching research of hard, horrific, historic facts with the feel of a fun-filled travelogue and - if they weren't so awful - hilarious... Read morePublished on January 19, 2013 by Patrik Widrig