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Preserving Memory: The Making of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Preserving Memory: The Making of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

by Edward T. Linenthal

Editorial Reviews

Jewish Book World
Since it opened in 1993, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has been garnering much attention and many visitors. This book chronicles the plan to create and build the Museum, from early discussions through the careful decision-making and design process, in which the early questions of what exactly to commemorate and how to shape a Holocaust memorial of this magnitude were being continuously considered and debated.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Passages in this discussion of the selection of artifacts-children's shoes, leg braces, bundles of women's hair-to be exhibited in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington are harrowing to read. At the same time, the bureaucratic infighting and political tugging on the President's Commission on the Holocaust and its successor, the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, tend to trivialize the raison d'etre of the museum: about what sort of building to erect that would be a ``good neighbor'' to others on the Mall, about whether to include articles that once belonged to Gypsies and homosexuals who were also victims, about commemorating other genocides like the slaughter of the Armenians in 1915. Ultimately, Linenthal's (Sacred Ground: Americans and Their Battlefields) carefully researched account seeks to answer the vexing question of the ``place'' of Holocaust memory in American culture. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Linenthal (religion and American culture, Univ. of Wisconsin, Oshkosh) describes the 15-year effort to create a national museum commemorating the Holocaust. He begins with the creation in May 1978 of the President's Commission on the Holocaust during the Carter administration. He then covers issues related to the location, design, and construction of the museum building. Linenthal's most significant contribution is the chapter on defining and representing the horror of the Holocaust. He skillfully describes the dilemmas facing the organizers of the exhibits, such as how to depict the story of mass murder and yet personalize it, how to represent the Nazis and other perpetrators of the Holocaust in the exhibit, and whether non-Jewish victims should be included. Linenthal tells the story of defining and representing America's memory of the Holocaust with sensitivity and thoroughness. For all collections.-Mark Weber, Kent State Univ. Lib., Ohio

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Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
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5.08(w) x 7.74(h) x 0.64(d)

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