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

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University of California Press, Oct 15, 2012 - History - 376 pages
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“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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DarthDeverell - LibraryThing

In How We Forgot the Cold War: A Historical Journey Across America, Jon Wiener argues, “Despite the immense effort by conservatives to shape public memory of the Cold War, their monuments weren’t ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

A remarkably polite liberal critique of the unsuccessful efforts to sustain a tale of victorious triumphalism in regards to America's role in the Cold War. Wiener's method is incremental, as he ... Read full review


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About the author (2012)

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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