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Shadowed Ground: America's Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy Revised Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0292705258
ISBN-10: 0292705255
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Editorial Reviews

Review

From reviews of the first edition: "This splendid, well-written, amply documented volume is remarkable in several respects, including the fact that, despite being the first extended treatment of its subject, it is likely to remain the definitive one." Professional Geographer "A fascinating look at the American obsession with historically violent and tragic places." Western Historical Quarterly "Attitudes, values, beliefs, and experiences all play a part in the national collective unconscious that leads some sites to be sanctified, others to be obliterated, and still others to be ignored. Foote provides a valuable perspective on this process in a well-written and thoroughly illustrated book that offers a provocative theoretical perspective on the imprinting of historical memory on the American landscape." Public Historian "[This] is an erudite history and description of how Americans have, or have not, interpreted/recognized the meaning of violent and tragic events throughout their history." Space and Culture

About the Author

Kenneth E. Foote is Professor and Chair of Geography at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he directs the Center for Geographic Education.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press; Revised edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292705255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292705258
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you arrange your library by category you may have trouble with this book. History? True Crime? Cultural Geography? Anthropology? Sociology? American Studies?
The book covers the sites of disaster, assassination, murder and accident all across America, including nearly every site and shrine in Texas. We review it not just for it's interesting content, but its coverage of a most unusual type of geography. It's a thought-provoking book at how, why and in what manner we deal with the sites of violence (and tragedy).
The individual stories of the incidents are told completely, but without distracting from the book's theme.
It's a unique book and should remain so for some time. Foote's thoroughness guarantees that.
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Format: Paperback
The book starts out by saying it will look at how Americans have memorialized, or failed to memorialize, tragic events such as unavoidable accidents, heroic battles, instances of martyrdom, or senseless acts of violence. To some degree the book is organize around these, but other chapters introduce other ideas, such as "stigmata of national identity." Foote's analytical categories don't follow this list, however - - he classifies the process of memorialization into four categories of response: sanctification, designation, rectification, and obliteration. There isn't a coherent explanation of how a tragedy ends up in one category or another. However, Chapter 8 - - not the final chapter, by the way - - examines themes of "selectivity," "hierarchy," and "practice" that affect this memorialization.

All of which is to say that the organization of the argument in this book, and the organization of the chapters, is an analytical mess.

Fortunately, the stories Foote tells are pretty interesting. He tells of communities deciding to memorialize industrial accidents and other tragedies. Foote gives us the stories of Texans and Mormons reinterpreting history through their monuments, and how Bostonians changed their minds about the Boston Massacre. We see controversies over John Brown at Harpers Ferry, important labor movement sites, anti-war protests, and all the rest. Those stories all make the book well worth reading.
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Format: Paperback
This book explores the way Americans interpret and define landscapes that have been sites of violence and tragedy. It exhaustively researches the factors that have contributed to monument-making at sites that are critical in American history. Also explored are the various ways communities interpret tragedy: by sanctifying, reclaiming, or obliterating the traces of tragic histories, communities leave impressions on the landscape that reflect their sorrow, their shame, or their pride over past events. This is interdisciplinary work at its best: simultaneously history, geography, and sociology. The detail of the historical research presented is astounding, and that research, together with a lively application of Durkheim's theories of social solidarity, open the reader to a new understanding of the American landscape.
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By A Customer on June 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
I read this book a couple of years and found it amazing!
It's heartbreaking, bloodchilling, and inspiring, all in one
book. These are stories that often remain untold and hidden in our culture, yet they are a distinct and vital part of
our national experience. I read the first edition, by the way,
and I now plan to buy the second, updated edition, which I
anticipate will deal with the World Trade Center attacks, the
Pentagon attack, and the Shencksville, PA, air crash. If you
buy one book this year, buy this one!
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