Remaking America: Public Memory, Commemoration, and Patriotism in the Twentieth Century

John Bodnar, Author Princeton University Press $39.5 (296p) ISBN 978-0-691-04783-6
Ideally, public recognition of a national past would include society's diverse elements in commemorative activities. Or so asserts University of Indiana history professor Bodnar in this relevant, readable social history. But as he tells it, the rise of an American industrial and cultural elite during the 20th century was accompanied by consolidation of a nation-state, federally strengthened by the two world wars and by the Cold War. The author charges that the U.S. employs symbols of ``pride and patriotism'' with which it seeks to unite citizens and preserve the political interests of its dominant social and economic class. However, notes Bodner, official interpretation of the past and present is now being challenged by racial, immigrant ethnic, regional and local interests, and by others seeking personal identification within the public memory. ``The present,'' the author concludes, ``is no longer seen as something that emerged neatly and purposefully from the past.'' Illustrations not seen by PW. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Paperback - 312 pages - 978-0-691-03495-9
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