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  • Shannon Bontrager

Death at the Edges of Empire: Fallen Soldiers, Cultural Memory, and the Making of an American Nation

Americans, since the time of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, have developed a collective memory of empire that could be hidden, particularly but not exclusively, in the rituals and traditions of commemorating the war dead. These imperial memories work incredibly hard to separate the past from the present and the citizenry from memory by hiding the practices and realities of American empire behind the cultural memory of democratic republicanism. This book is a history of American memory. It traces the commemorative traditions that American political elites created, in cooperation with a compliant American citizenry, to remember the war dead. It is meant to help readers think about how to reconnect the past with the present.

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