FINE ARTS

Marked, Unmarked, Remembered: A Geography of American Memory

Lichtenstein, Andrew & . West Virginia Univ. Oct. 2017. 180p. photos. notes. ISBN 9781943665891. $34.99. PHOTOG
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Among photography's many uses is that of helping us to remember and understand historical events. But what if people don't agree as to the significance of those events, or even if they happened at all? The past isn't fixed, as this project by photographer, journalist, and teacher Andrew Lichtenstein shows. He traveled throughout the United States, photographing "sites of violent trauma" (the location of Emmett Till's murder; the Sand Creek Massacre site, etc.) of particular significance for Native American, African American, and labor history. He strove to understand events and places that Americans commit to public memory, as well as those banished to forgetfulness. It's easy to feel disoriented, spatially and historically, while viewing these photographs, which is exactly the intention, pointing readers to the perplexing quality of what the book's introduction refers to as the "topography of the past." A slate of distinguished historians supplement the images with insightful essays.
VERDICT A thought-provoking addition to the literature on sites of public memory, complementing titles such as Kenneth Foote's Shadowed Ground: America's Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy.

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