Monument Wars: Washington, D.C., the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape

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University of California Press, 2009 - Art - 390 pages
6 Reviews
"An exceptional book, Monument Wars is impressive in just about every way. It is an indispensable guide to the National Mall and establishes Savage as one of the foremost historians of American art now working."--Alexander Nemerov, Yale University

"Monument Wars is the best single work I've read on the idea of the 'monument' in American culture, the best single analysis and history of Washington's shrines. In his rich and riveting analyses of the Washington Mall, Kirk Savage brilliantly re-animates its monuments with the stories of their often fraught and contentious origins. This is also a philosophical treatise on the paradox of lively American democratic ideals as they find fixed form in stone and mortar. Monument Wars is an outstanding achievement."--James E. Young, author of The Texture of Memory and At Memory's Edge

"No one does art history and the history of memory as sublimely as Kirk Savage. In this book of extraordinary research and widely accessible prose, Savage brilliantly shows how America's most sacred and visible public space has evolved. He also demonstrates how the Washington Mall has become, for Americans, the preeminent space where the very idea of a monument has constantly changed. And above all, Savage writes with deep sensitivity about the sometimes tortured, always fascinating politics of national memory. The Mall appears monumentally fixed. But after reading Savage, no one will be able to gaze upon its stunning vistas without realizing that it is a turbulent, unsteady story of how a republic memorializes itself."--David W. Blight, author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory

"Kirk Savage maps Washington's ubiquitous monuments within the symbolic cityscape fashioned by the city's planners and rulers, creating a luminous, insightful record of our national political enthusiasms and obsessions. At once an art history of monuments and a landscape history of political theater, Monument Wars is a worthy successor to Savage's classic Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves."--Dell Upton, University of California, Los Angeles
  

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Review: Monument Wars: Washington, DC, the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape

User Review  - Warren Perry - Goodreads

Savage works his way across the National Mall investigating the history and the rationales behind the establishment of our greatest monuments. One of the questions he asks is: how many monuments are ... Read full review

Review: Monument Wars: Washington, DC, the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape

User Review  - Matt Sickle - Goodreads

This book was both critical to my masters thesis and an enjoyable read. Part history, part warning to those that dare to design memorials in Washington, Kirk Savage's "Monument Wars" was an eye opener. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
1 A Monument to a Deceased Project
25
2 Covering Ground
63
3 The Mechanic Monster
107
4 Inventing Public Space
147
5 The Monument Transformed
195
6 The Conscience of the Nation
251
7 An End to War an End to Monuments?
297
Notes
315
Selected Bibliography
357
Illustrations
375
Index
379
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Kirk Savage is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America.

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