A Spectator Book of the Year 2020
A Times and Sunday Times Best Book of 2020
A Mail on Sunday Book of the Year 2020
‘Inspired ? Lowe’s sensitive, disturbing book should be compulsory reading for both statue builders and statue topplers’ MAX HASTINGS, SUNDAY TIMES
What happens when our values change, but what we have set in stone does not?
Humankind has always had the urge to memorialise, to make physical testaments to the past. There’s just one problem: when we carve a statue or put up a monument, it can wind up holding us hostage to bad history.
In this extraordinary history book, Keith Lowe uses monuments from around the world to show how different countries have attempted to sculpt their history in the wake of the Second World War, and what these memorials reveal about their politics and national identity today.
Amongst many questions, the book asks: What does Germany signal to today’s far right by choosing not to disclose the exact resting place of Hitler? How can a bronze statue of a young girl in Seoul cause mass controversy? What is Russia trying to prove and hide, still building victory monuments at a prolific rate for a war now seventy years over?
As many around the world are questioning who and what we memorialise, Prisoners of History challenges our idea of national memory, history, and the enormous power of symbols in society today.