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.
PROLOGUE & THE TWO RECONSTRUCTIONS
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 Count by 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.