The Unfinished Bombing: Oklahoma City in American Memory

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Oxford University Press, May 1, 2003 - Religion - 320 pages
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On April 19, 1995 the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City shook the nation, destroying our complacent sense of safety and sending a community into a tailspin of shock, grief, and bewilderment. Almost as difficult as the bombing itself has been the aftermath, its legacy for Oklahoma City and for the nation, and the struggle to recover from this unprecedented attack. In The Unfinished Bombing, Edward T. Linenthal explores the many ways Oklahomans and other Americans have tried to grapple with this catastrophe. Working with exclusive access to materials gathered by the Oklahoma City National Memorial Archive and drawing from over 150 personal interviews with family members of those murdered, survivors, rescuers, and many others. Linenthal looks at how the bombing threatened cherished ideas about American innocence, sparked national debate on how to respond to terrorism at home and abroad, and engendered a new "bereaved community" in Oklahoma City itself. Linenthal examines how different stories about the bombing were told through positive narratives of civic renewal and of religious redemption and more negative narratives of toxicity and trauma. He writes about the extraordinary bonds of affection that were created in the wake of the bombing, acts of kindness, empathy, and compassion that existed alongside the toxic legacy of the event. The Unfinished Bombing offers a compelling look at both the individual and the larger cultural consequences of one of the most searing events in recent American history.
 

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The unfinished bombing: Oklahoma City in American memory

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The Oklahoma City bombing happened in an instant, but its impact on U.S. society is still unfinished, according to Linenthal, a professor of religion and American culture and the author of two ... Read full review

Contents

FALLING INTO HISTORY
15
TELLING THE STORY THREE NARRATIVES
41
A NEW WORLD THE INNER LIFE OF A WOUNDED COMMUNITY
81
A SINGLE CHORD OF HORROR THE MEMORIAL VOCABULARY OF AMERICAN CULTURE
109
WE COME HERE TO REMEMBER CREATING THE MEMORIAL IN OKLAHOMA CITY
175
BONDS OF AFFECTION
231
POSTSCRIPT
239
NOTES
242
INDEX
293
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Page 17 - American scene were suggested by the image of a radically new personality, the hero of the new adventure: an individual emancipated from history, happily bereft of ancestry, untouched and undefiled by the usual inheritances of family and race; an individual standing alone, self-reliant and selfpropelling, ready to confront whatever awaited him with the aid of his own, unique and inherent resources.

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About the author (2003)

Edward Linenthal is Professor of History and editor of the Journal of American History at Indiana University.

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