Long Shadows: Truth, Lies and History
Authors: Paris, Erna
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Synopsis: How do nations reinvent themselves after cataclysmic events? Who gets to decide what happened yesterday, then to propagate the tale, and what are the consequences of their choices? These are some of the questions author and historian Erna Paris carried with her through the United States, with its long-buried memory of slavery; to South Africa, to sit in on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's attempts to heal the divisions of apartheid; to Japan, France and Germany and the unresolved pain of Hiroshima and the Holocaust; and to the former Yugoslavia where she exposes the cynical shaping of historical memory, and the way the world community responded to the lethal outcome of that half-imagined history.
Combining gripping storytelling with insight and sharp observation, Paris takes us to the places of reckoning—be they courtrooms or concentration camps—and finds hope in the way ordinary people grapple with the defining events of their lives. Evocatively written, her journey illuminates a crucial subject that straddles the 20th and 21st centuries.
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