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Memory Wars: Additional Resources

Hi Memory Wars Listeners - I'm glad you've found your way to this page.

This is your place to further explore some of the history and themes of each episode. This list of resources will grow as each episode is released. 

- Mallory 


For the basics: 

Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil by Susan Neiman: If you're on board with the basic premise of Memory Wars, then look no further than Susan Neiman. She did the comparison first. Neiman is an American expat living in Germany and a professor of philosophy. If you don't have time to read her book, she's done numerous talks on the topic, including a fantastic discussion hosted by UVA's Memory Project.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson: Let's say you're not on board with the basic premise of Memory Wars and you need some more convincing of the similarities between Nazi Germany and the American apartheid South. In Caste, Wilkerson lays it all out. This interview with Wilkerson is another great way to engage with her work.

Day X, from the New York Times: If Memory Wars holds Germany up as an example of the possibilities, Day X makes it clear there's still a lot of important work to be done in Germany today to tackle the growing far-right movement.

For the deep dive: 

Adenauer's Germany and the Nazi Past: The Politics of Amnesty and Integration by Norbert Frei: Considered one of the seminal works of history on West German politics immediately post WWII. This book by Frei details the background of Vergangenheitspolitik -- the politics and policy of dealing with the Nazi past.

Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys by Jeffrey Herf: In the first episode of Memory Wars we focus on the history of West Germany, but there's a whole other important side of Vergangenheitspolitik -- East Germany. Herf dives into the politics of the past on both sides of the Berlin Wall.

Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory by David Blight: When I first moved back to my hometown and began reporting on politics in Richmond I knew I needed to brush up on my history. This is where I started. Blight's book was the beginning of my re-education in Civil War history, and it's about the politics of American memory, in the same vein as vergangenheitsbewältigung. 

Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race and Law by James Whitman: Long before I had conceived of the project Memory Wars, the framework for a comparison between Germany and the U.S. was probably first embedded in my head by Whitman's book. It's an eye-opening, nauseating, look at how Hitler turned to the American South for inspiration.


For the basics:

The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates: In 2014 Coates wrote this article for the
Atlantic, fundamentally changing the American discourse on financial reparations and bringing the idea into the mainstream. I think it remains one of the fundamental and most persuasive modern day arguments for a financial reparations system in the United States.

Jews Don't Countby David Baddiel: This short, and often-times funny, read is an important primer on understanding anti-semitism. The target audience is "people who consider themselves on the right side of history" but who may sometimes question: Do Jewish people really count as a minority? Here's a good quick interview on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

For the deep dive:

How to Accept German Reparations by Susan Slyomovics: If you found your interest piqued by the German reparations process, this book gives more details in an engaged, nuanced, and thoughtful way.


For the basics:

Belonging by Nora Krug: If you read one thing from this list, please let it be this. A beautiful and touching exploration of what it means to be German and confront your family's past. Plus it's visual - comic style.

On Tyranny, graphic edition by Timothy Snyder and Nora Krug: Can you tell I just love Nora Krug? This collaboration between artist Krug and historian Snyder breaks down 20 concrete lessons and advice for people to keep in mind if they want to survive and resist an authoritarian state.

For the deep dive: 

Shadows of Traumaby Aleida Assmann: Assmann, who we hear briefly from in this episode, is a ground-breaking thinker who has spent decades analyzing the evolution of memory and the formation of cultural narrative. It's a philosophical text but important reading for anyone wanting to explore the themes further.

The Culture of Defeatby Wolfgang Shivelbusch: How do the losers of a war cope with defeat? There's an entire section of this book devoted to the South at the end of the Civil War.


For the basics:

The Library of Virginia: In reporting this episode I spent hours at the Library of Virginia in Richmond going down a genealogical rabbit hole. The institution is open and accessible for anyone interested in doing the same. They even hold genealogy workshops.

We Aren't Who We Think We Are, Code Switch Episode: I listened to this episode multiple times while I was in Germany and struggling with the idea of family stories, myths and realities. As I began to explore my own family history, this well done episode by Leah Donnella was in the back of my head.

For the deep dive: 

The Eichmann Trialby Deborah Lipstadt: If the episode piqued your interest in the story of Eichmann's day(s) in court then this book is where to go for more information. Deborah Lipstadt, now the US' Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, writes about the trial in a way that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The Question of German Guiltby Karl Jaspers: Should we all feel guilty for the sins of our ancestors? Are we all collectively responsible? Jaspers was a German philosopher who dealt with these questions in Germany immediately following the end of the war. His insights gave me a lot to think deeply about today.


For the basics:

Stolpersteine, more info: Throughout Europe, stolpersteine are a very decentralized project. Each city tends to have its own website and detailed information on the remembrances in their borders. But this website is the hub and a good launching point to learn more.

Stopping Stones, more info: The Stopping Stones project in the U.S. focuses on the history of American slavery, and each stone bears the name of someone once enslaved.

For the deep dive: 

Monument Lab - Podcast with Free Egunfemi Bangura: There is so much important work happening in the field of monuments and memorialization in the United States today. The Monument Lab is an important hub of that work, and Free Egunfemi Bangura has been on the vanguard of this work in Richmond.

Death and Rebirth in a Southern City by Ryan Smith: If you'd like to learn more about the historic cemeteries and the stories they tell, Virginia Commonwealth University's Ryan Smith has this close look at more than a dozen of Richmond's significant cemeteries – including the African burial grounds discussed in this episode.

Mallory Noe-Payne is a Radio IQ reporter based in Richmond.