How We Forgot the Cold War: A Historical Journey across America

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Overview


“Here’s a book that would've split the sides of Thucydides. Wiener’s magical mystery tour of Cold War museums is simultaneously hilarious and the best thing ever written on public history and its contestation.“ —Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz

“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 ...

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How We Forgot the Cold War: A Historical Journey across America

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Overview


“Here’s a book that would've split the sides of Thucydides. Wiener’s magical mystery tour of Cold War museums is simultaneously hilarious and the best thing ever written on public history and its contestation.“ —Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz

“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, 1863–1877

"In How We Forgot the Cold War, Jon Wiener shows how conservatives tried—and failed—to 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

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Editorial Reviews

Oc Weekly: Orange County News, Arts & Ent - Andrew Tonkovich

“As popular reading, it's got the humor and wit of Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation and James Loewen's Sundown Towns and DJ Waldie's Holy Land. By which I mean it's witty and kinda mean, and exhilarating bad fun.”
Philadelphia City Paper - Andrew Milner

“Wiener’s wit and deft grasp of geopolitics make for one of the season’s most intriguing historical books.”
Zocalo Public Square - Sarah Rothbard

“Who knew the Cold War was funny? Wiener’s adventures in American historical memory are surprisingly lively.”
Los Angeles Review Of Books - Andrew Gumbel

“A provocative and fascinating new book.”
New York Times Book Review - Joshua Hammer

“A political argument masquerading as a travel yarn. . . . Wiener’s accounts of his trips to nuclear test sites, missile-launching control centers and fallout shelter exhibits contrast the guides’ cheerful patter with the prospect of Armageddon.”
Tomdispatch

“A splendid tour de farce of the museums and other memory palaces established largely by the American right in honor of the greatest triumph in human history, the winning of the... oh, remind me, what was it?”
The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics, and Culture - Kevin Temple

"...An account of memory laced with irony and wit..."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520271418
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2012
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,448,716
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Jon Wiener is Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. Among his books are Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files (UC Press) and Historians in Trouble: Plagiarism, Fraud and Politics in the Ivory Tower.
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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations
Introduction: Forgetting the Cold War

Part One. The End
1. Hippie Day at the Reagan Library
2. The Victims of Communism Museum: A Study in Failure

Part Two. The Beginning: 1946–1949
3. Getting Started: The Churchill Memorial in Missouri
4. Searching for the Pumpkin Patch: The Whittaker Chambers National Historic Landmark
5. Naming Names, from Laramie to Beverly Hills
6. Secrets on Display: The CIA Museum and the NSA Museum
7. Cold War Cleanup: The Hanford Tour

Part Three. The 1950s
8. Test Site Tourism in Nevada
9. Memorial Day in Lakewood and La Jolla: Korean War Monuments of California
10. Code Name “Ethel”: The Rosenbergs in the Museums
11. Mound Builders of Missouri: Nuclear Waste at Weldon Spring
12. Cold War Elvis: Sgt. Presley at the General George Patton Museum

Part Four. The 1960s and After
13. The Graceland of Cold War Tourism: The Greenbrier Bunker
14. Ike’s Emmy: Monuments to the Military-Industrial Complex
15. The Fallout Shelters of North Dakota
16. “It Had to Do with Cuba and Missiles”: Thirteen Days in October
17. The Museum of the Missile Gap: Arizona’s Titan Missile Memorial
18. The Museum of Détente: The Nixon Library in Yorba Linda

Part Five. Alternative Approaches
19. Rocky Flats: Uncovering the Secrets
20. CNN’s Cold War: Equal Time for the Russians
21. Harry Truman’s Amazing Museum

Conclusion: History, Memory, and the Cold War
Epilogue: From the Cold War to the War in Iraq

Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2013

    Terrible

    A revisionist history examining the Cold War from the jaded view of current times rather than the vview of the time. He even tries to get one to believe that Rosenbergs were not guilty! I wasted my money purchasing this excretory work and wasted my time reading it. This book does not deservse to be classified as history.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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