Edward T. Linenthal, «The Unfinished Bombing: Oklahoma City in American Memory»

Posted By: Alexpal

Edward T. Linenthal, «The Unfinished Bombing: Oklahoma City in American Memory»
Oxford University Press | ISBN 0195136721 | 2001 Year | PDF | 3,4 Mb | 320 Pages

In the aftermath of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Americans wrestled with three incomprehensible facts: that it happened in the heartland, that its victims included small children and that it was perpetrated by fellow Americans. The media, government officials and individuals wondered if Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols represented the lunatic fringe or if they were symptoms of our historically violent society. Linenthal (Sacred Ground: Americans and Their Battlefields), professor of religion and American culture at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and an expert on American memorializing, brings tremendous sensitivity to his examination of the psychic consequences of the bombing, based on interviews with more than 150 direct participants, including mental health professionals, educators and clergy, and on exclusive access to the Oklahoma City National Memorial Archive. Critical of "the medicalization of grief," whereby grief is considered symptomatic of illness and therefore finite, he also faults public figures, including former President Clinton, for casting the 168 victims of the senseless tragedy as patriots who sacrificed their lives for America. Particularly moving is Linenthal's account of the construction and dedication of the Oklahoma City National Memorial, which prompts many visitors to leave something personal (poems, flowers, crucifixes) at the site. Linenthal places the site at the pinnacle of "memorial hierarchy" because, by reminding us and imparting a lesson, it suggests that "all is not lost." Itself a kind of tribute, his study astutely explores the phenomena of memorializing, grieving and healing. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)Forecast: No book concerning the bombing has so comprehensively addressed the national psyche. This combination of psychological insight and cultural criticism, along with the hopeful assessment of a still-fresh tragedy, will attract a wide audience.

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