Autry National Center

GO WEST Reading Series: Jon Wiener

GO WEST READING SERIES, ALL ABOUT BOOKS

HOW WE FORGOT THE COLD WAR

GENERAL INFO

Date / Time:

Saturday, Nov 17, 2012, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Location:

The Autry in Griffith Park

Appropriate For:

Adults

RSVP/Reservations:

Museum Admission Rates Apply / Free for Autry Members

Hours after the USSR collapsed in 1991, Congress began making plans to establish the official memory of the Cold War. Conservatives dominated the proceedings, spending millions to portray the conflict as a triumph of good over evil and a defeat of totalitarianism equal in significance to World War II. In this provocative book, historian Jon Wiener visits Cold War monuments, museums, and memorials across the United States to find out how the era is being remembered. The author’s journey provides a history of the Cold War, one that turns many conventional notions on their heads.

Jon Wiener

In an engaging travelogue that takes readers to sites such as the life-size recreation of Berlin’s “Checkpoint Charlie” at the Reagan Library, the fallout shelter display at the Smithsonian, and exhibits about “Sgt. Elvis,” America’s most famous Cold War veteran, Wiener discovers that the Cold War isn’t being remembered. It’s being forgotten. Despite an immense effort, the conservatives’ monuments weren’t built, their historic sites have few visitors, and many of their museums have now shifted focus to other topics. Proponents of the notion of a heroic “Cold War victory” failed; the public didn’t buy the official story. Lively, readable, and well-informed, this book expands current discussions about memory and history, and raises intriguing questions about popular skepticism toward official ideology.

Jon Wiener is a contributing editor to The Nation, a professor of history at UC Irvine, and host of an afternoon drive-time interview show on the WBAI radio in Los Angeles.   He is the author of five other books, including Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files (UC Press), which recounts his experiences as a plaintiff in a Freedom of Information lawsuit against the FBI.  His writing has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, the New Republic, and the Los Angeles Times, and he’s been a guest on NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross, PBS American Masters, and CNN’s “State of the Nation” with Candy Crowley.


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