Sacred Ground: Americans and Their Battlefields

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9780252017834: Sacred Ground: Americans and Their Battlefields
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Examines how different groups of Americans have competed to control, define, and own cherished national stories relating to events at four battlefields

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Here, Linenthal (Religious Studies/Univ. of Wisconsin) provocatively chronicles the history and role of five of America's most famous battle-site memorials: Lexington-Concord, the Alamo, Gettysburg, the Little Big Horn, and Pearl Harbor. Linenthal notes that Americans have always been awed and inspired when visiting places where gallant fellow citizens transformed ordinary land into sacred ground by their spirit and blood sacrifices in epic battles. The venerated sites, he says, have provided a powerful focus for national reflections that not only have enriched legends (often promoted by interested power groups) but, by the passage of time and through continued research by historians, have redefined the past by bringing to bear updated concepts of freedom and justice. Lexington-Concord symbolized the martial valor of plain citizens risking death to shake off a tyranny and build a new, freer society; later, this same spirit of protest would inspire some to demonstrate against unpopular wars. The work of historians, Linenthal argues, has changed perceptions of the Little Big Horn and altered the Custer myth. The author relates how the survivors of Gettysburg, once bitter enemies, would in time find friendship together while visitors would only occasionally be reminded of the forgotten message of Lincoln--that military valor and sacrifice would be in vain if a people would still be divided and a united nation of all the people not achieved: The freed slaves were largely forgotten for generations. Finally, Linenthal finds that the Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor has seldom healed the average visitor's resentment toward Japan. An authoritative study of the nature of the American patriotic spirit as observed in its most hallowed memorials. (One-hundred- and-eighteen illustrations.) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Unlike other recent books on the significance of battlefields and monuments in the American memory, Linenthal presents neither an overall survey of sites nor a study of one memorial, as Karal Ann Marling and John Wetenhall did in their innovative Iwo Jima ( LJ 6/15/91). Rather, he has selected five battlefields he contends Americans perceive as most crucial to their national life, an explanation he oddly saves for his Conclusion. The battles themselves--Lexington and Concord, the Alamo, Gettysburg, Little Big Horn, and Pearl Harbor--receive a two-page summary each. Linenthal's concern begins once the battle is over, as successive generations neglected, venerated, restored, and quibbled up to the present over the contemporary meaning of each battle site. While each chapter provides a fascinating study of the use and abuse of American historical memory, the format occasionally becomes tedious: several chapters into the work we know the type of events that will occur regarding each monument--if not the specific activities. But people who have visited or plan to tour these sites will find the emotions each battlefield engendered over the years as interesting as the fighting itself.
- Charles K. Piehl, Mankato State Univ., Minn.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Linenthal, Edward Tabor
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Book Description University of Illinois Press, 1991. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. 352 Pages. The dustwrapper benefits from an additional clear archival wrapper for protection. Americans have persistently expressed fascination with the nation's most famous battlefields through patriotic rhetoric, monument building, physical preservation, and battle reenactment. But each site is also a place where different groups of Americans went to compete for ownership of cherished national stories and to argue about the meaning of war, the importance of martial sacrifice, and the significance of preserving the nation's patriotic landscape. Size: 26.2 x 18.6 x 2.7 cm. 352 pages. Quantity Available: 1. Category: History; American West; General Custer. ISBN: 0252017838. ISBN/EAN: 9780252017834. Inventory No: 189400. 21 years of serving customers on ABE. A seller you can rely on. Seller Inventory # 189400

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Edward Linenthal, Robert M. Utley (Foreword)
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