The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History

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Cambridge University Press, May 13, 1998 - History - 338 pages
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Heritage, while it often constitutes and defines the most positive aspects of culture, is a malleable body of historical text subject to interpretation and easily twisted into myth. When it is appealed to on a national or ethnic level in reactions against racial, religious, or economic oppression, the result is often highly-charged political contention or conflict. The extraordinary theme of this unique book is how the rise of a manifold, crusade-like obsession with tradition and inheritance--both physical and cultural--can lead to either good or evil. In a balanced account of the pros and cons of the rhetoric and spoils of heritage--on the one hand cultural identity and unity, on the other, potential holy war--David Lowenthal discusses the myriad uses and abuses of historical appropriation and offers a rare and accessible account of a concept at once familiar and fraught with complexity. David Lowenthal is Emeritus Professor of Geography at University College London, and the author of the bestselling The Past is a Foreign Country (Cambridge, 1985)
 

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Contents

HERITAGE ASCENDANT
1
PERSONAL LEGACIES
31
COLLECTIVE LEGACIES
55
HERITAGE ASSAILED
88
THE PURPOSE AND PRACTICE OF HISTORY
105
THE PURPOSE OF HERITAGE
127
THE PRACTICE OF HERITAGE
148
BEING FIRST
173
BEING INNATE
192
RIVALRY AND RESTITUTION
227
References
251
Select Bibliography and Citation Index
293
Acknowledgments
315
Index
319
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