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The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 8 December 2006
I disagree with the previous reviewer, this is far more than a "dictionary cum bibliography". The debate over heritage is hugely controversial - the conclusions of this book, if indeed there can be solid conclusions, reflect this to some extent. I thought that the author managed to convey a more balanced attitude towards the 'heritage industry' than has been the case in the past; how it has been accepted as an important part of modern society.

Just look at some of the books written on the topic in the last 10 or 15 years (e.g. Walsh's "Representation of the past: Museums and heritage in the post-modern world", 1992) that seem almost scared of the impact of heritage. Lowenthal seems to be challenging this view by reminding us of the problems relating to both 'history' and 'heritage'. The are, so he argues, mutually beneficial in the way we conceive of the past. Essentially, neither is 'good' or 'bad'.

However, I would agree with the previous reviewer that this can sometimes be a challenging read (a dictionary at the ready is recommended) although I must have increased my vocabulary a fair bit. However, the clarity of the author's argument thankfully makes this book suitable for browsing. I actually found his wealth of 'examples' interesting and amusing.

Overall, as a budding historian, this book challenged my perceptions of modern heritage as being the bogeyman of historical study. I would especially recommend it to anyone studying heritage or to those sceptics who thought like myself.
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An interesting topic written in a very high-handed style which makes it difficult to read
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8 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2001
The author approaches this book in such a way as to obscure his very message. It is easy to get the impression this book is not so much of an informative read but as a dictionary cum bibliography. Whilst references are useful to illustrate a point, there are far too many of them, and many of them far too obscure. What it takes an entire chapter to convey could be summed up in a paragraph. Unfortunately this approaches soon taxes the reader's appreciation of the author's very extensive knowledge. If you are searching for clues on the difference between history and heritage then this is your book! Nonetheless, it is a very suject specific read.
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