From the “taming of the West” to the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the portrayal of the past has become a battleground at the heart of American politics. What kind of history Americans should read, see, or fund is no longer merely a matter of professional interest to teachers, historians, and museum curators. Everywhere now, history is increasingly being held hostage, but to what end and why? In History Wars, eight prominent historians consider the angry swirl of emotions that now surrounds public memory. Included are trenchant essays by Paul Boyer, John W. Dower, Tom Engelhardt, Richard H. Kohn, Edward Linenthal, Michael S. Sherry, Marilyn B. Young, and Mike Wallace.
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1ANATOMY OF A CONTROVERSYEDWARD T. LINENTHAL
When, in the fall of 1993, Martin Harwit, director of the National Air and Space Museum (NASM), asked me to serve on an advisory committee for that museum's upcoming Enola Gay exhibit, I was excited. After all, for many years I had studied battles over battlefield memorialization, clashes over "sacred ground." In the late 1980s, I had spent much time with National Park Service personnel as they struggled to transform the Little Bighorn battlefield from a shrine to George A. Custer and the