Fallen Idols: Twelve Statues That Made History (Hardcover)

Fallen Idols: Twelve Statues That Made History By Alex von Tunzelmann Cover Image
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Description


An Economist Best Book of the Year

In this timely and lively look at the act of toppling monuments, the popular historian and author of Blood and Sand explores the vital question of how a society remembers—and confronts—the past.

In 2020, history came tumbling down. From the US and the UK to Belgium, New Zealand, and Bangladesh, Black Lives Matter protesters defaced, and in some cases, hauled down statues of Confederate icons, slaveholders, and imperialists. General Robert E. Lee, head of the Confederate Army, was covered in graffiti in Richmond, Virginia. Edward Colston, a member of Parliament and slave trader, was knocked off his plinth in Bristol, England, and hurled into the harbor. Statues of Christopher Columbus were toppled in Minnesota, burned and thrown into a lake in Virginia, and beheaded in Massachusetts. Belgian King Leopold II was set on fire in Antwerp and doused in red paint in Ghent. Winston Churchill’s monument in London was daubed with the word “racist.” As these iconic effigies fell, the backlash was swift and intense.

But as the past three hundred years have shown, history is not erased when statues are removed. If anything, Alex von Tunzelmann reminds us, it is made.

Exploring the rise and fall of twelve famous, yet now controversial statues, she takes us on a fascinating global historical tour around North America, Western and Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia, filled with larger than life characters and dramatic stories. Von Tunzelmann reveals that statues are not historical records but political statements and distinguishes between statuary—the representation of “virtuous” individuals, usually “Great Men”—and other forms of sculpture, public art, and memorialization. Nobody wants to get rid of all memorials. But Fallen Idols asks: have statues had their day?

About the Author


Alex von Tunzelmann is the author of Blood and Sand, Indian Summer, and Red Heat. She lives in London.

Praise For…


"The heart of the book is von Tunzelmann’s 12 chapter-long stories of figures famous enough to have become the subjects of commemorative statues, and then controversial enough to have some or all of these monuments removed. . . . Many of these stories are fascinating. . . .Von Tunzelmann ends the book with a strong argument. . . . If a book’s purpose is to tell you stories and leave you with an idea, this idea of better styles of commemoration will stay with me."  — James Fallows, New York Times Book Review

“Thoughtful and fast-paced…. [Von Tunzelmann] makes a compelling case that scrutinizing monumental statuary is an integral part of what open societies do as they reassess past values and seek new ones to guide their futures…. A convincing, logic-driven argument that cuts through the emotional and ideological static around statue toppling, which often obscures the facts about how and why they were put up in the first place.”  — Washington Post

“One of the best books there is for understanding the long story behind our own ‘statue wars’.” — Mary Beard, The Guardian

“Vital and relevant.”  — Booklist

“Brisk and informative. . . . Enriched by accessible history lessons and trenchant analysis of contemporary politics and culture, this is a persuasive call for a ‘much wider and more mature engagement with the past.’”  — Publishers Weekly

“An illuminating guide to a much-needed discussion about history and how it is represented.”  — BookPage

“A lively, engaging and often witty exploration of why statues are put up, why they are taken down and what this teaches us about history and memory. It’s extremely well researched. . . . In this fascinating book [von Tunzelmann] asks us to look ‘beyond the binaries of pride and shame, good and bad, heroes and villains’ and think more deeply about how history is made.”  — Sunday Times (London)

“Gripping. . . . Von Tunzelmann, an Oxford educated historian with an eye for human detail as well as a sure-handed grasp of the larger picture, does a marvelous job of recreating the tension and bungling that swept up up Cairo, London, Moscow, Budapest, Paris and Washington during the harrowing two weeks of Oct. 22 to Nov. 26, 1956.... Not only exciting and satisfying but also timely.” — Evan Thomas, New York Times Book Review, on Blood and Sand

“Anchored with fresh documentary evidence, Blood and Sand is a riveting re-evaluation of the Cold War crises of 1956: Suez and Hungary. Alex von Tunzelmann has written a definitive history of these crucial events — a real page-turner and monument to first-rate scholarship.” — Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Rice University and author of Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America, on Blood and Sand

“This thrilling ticktock brings the emotional core of geopolitical maneuvering into dramatic focus, with portraits of leaders variously honorable, pigheaded, irresolute, pusillanimous, and susceptible to mood swings.” — The New Yorker on Blood and Sand

“This book offers a shrewd, exciting history of the Suez crisis of 1956, and makes a clear case for its relevance today.” — New York Times on Blood and Sand

“The effect is a cinematic, you-are-there style of history-writing, which plunges the reader into the chaos of events.” — Adam Kirsch, Tablet, on Blood and Sand

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063081673
ISBN-10: 0063081679
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: October 19th, 2021
Pages: 320
Language: English

How to read more

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( Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource shares thousands of images that span decades of Birminghams vibrant past)

How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.

 

And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.

 

15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.

 

50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.

 

Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.

 

Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.

 

Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.

 

Outcome

Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.

 
 
 

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