Cover for LINENTHAL: Sacred Ground: Americans and Their Battlefields

Sacred Ground

Americans and Their Battlefields

Americans have persistently expressed fascination with the nation's most famous battlefields through patriotic rhetoric, monument building, physical preservation, and battle reenactment. But each site is also a place where different groups of Americans come to compete for ownership of cherished national stories and to argue about the meaning of war, the importance of martial sacrifice, and the significance of preserving the nation's patriotic landscape.

From the anniversary speeches at Lexington and Concord that shaped the image of the minuteman to Alamo Day speeches invoking the Texas "freedom fighters" of 1836 in support of the contras in Nicaragua; from passionate arguments over the placement of Confederate monuments at Gettysburg to confrontations between militant American Indian Movement and "Custer loyalists" during the Little Bighorn centennial in 1976; from the treatment of the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor to continuing attempts to maintain the purity of these places in the face of commercialization---Sacred Ground details the ongoing struggles to define, control, and subvert patriotic faith as expressed at these ceremonial sites.

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