This is a masterful volume on remembrance and war in the twentieth century. Jay Winter locates the fascination with the subject of memory within a long-term trajectory that focuses on the Great War. Images, languages, and practices that appeared during and after the two world wars focused on the need to acknowledge the victims of war and shaped the ways in which future conflicts were imagined and remembered. At the core of the “memory boom” is an array of collective meditations on war and the victims of war, Winter says.
The book begins by tracing the origins of contemporary interest in memory, then describes practices of remembrance that have linked history and memory, particularly in the first half of the twentieth century. The author also considers “theaters of memory”—film, television, museums, and war crimes trials in which the past is seen through public representations of memories. The book concludes with reflections on the significance of these practices for the cultural history of the twentieth century as a whole.