Smashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of America’s Public Monuments

OrangeSky Audio. Feb. 2022. 6:27 hrs. ISBN 9781664997615. $22.99. SOC SCI
Art historian and art crime specialist Thompson (John Jay Coll. of Criminal Justice; Possession) offers a deeply researched, absorbing examination of the complex and controversial issue of public monuments. While currently an extremely divisive issue in America, Thompson believes debates over public monuments are perfectly normal in a healthy society. Starting in 1776, when New Yorkers pulled down a statute of King George III and used the lead to make musket balls to shoot at British soldiers, frustrated Americans decide to topple controversial statues themselves, Thompson says, often because there is no established procedure for citizens to ask local governments for their removal. Additionally, almost 20 states have passed, or are attempting to pass, legislation to increase the criminal penalties for damaging monuments, making their removal even more difficult.
VERDICT Narrator Heather Masters’s clear voice, excellent enunciation, and measured delivery allow the often shocking stories behind some of the United States’ most famous monuments, such as the U.S. Capitol Building’s Freedom Statue and Mount Rushmore, to stand on their own.
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