“Who controls the past, Controls the future” -George Orwell, 1984
What was so interesting about Eric Foner’s review was his remark about what goes in historical memory can have political motives. It eerily reminds me of the book “1984” by George Orwell and how history is manipulated by the party to keep check of what is being remembered. And we know from Neurology and psychology that what we remember plays a fundamental role in forming the basis of our reality.
Foner mentions the dichotomy between the views provided by the North and South about how the Civil War should be remembered. One was the “Emancipationist” view provided by the North which emphasized freedom and equality for all men. The south embraced the “Reconciliationist” view which accentuated the commonality between the two sides and the bravery of the individual soldiers. The Reconciliationist view downplayed the role of slavery as the cause of the Civil War and Foner also mentioned how the South still embodied the with supremacy view even after the Civil War. David Blight’s book does seem to render important facts about how we remember the Civil War, but I am not so sure if it would be an interesting read for me, I had rather read the condensed review! But maybe serious history students and historians might find the book useful. Another event in history I think is remembered differently is the War against Iraq in 2003. The two most prevalent views is that the war was caused by the threat of WMDs in Iraq, while the other view is that the prime concern was taking control of the huge oil reserves in Iraq. Both view might have political agenda and that the democrats may advance the latter view to portray the Republican party as composed of greedy capitalists.