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Distributed for Reaktion Books

The Destruction of Memory

Architecture at War - Second Expanded Edition

2nd Edition

With a New Preface by the author

Distributed for Reaktion Books

The Destruction of Memory

Architecture at War - Second Expanded Edition

2nd Edition

With a New Preface by the author
Crumbled shells of mosques in Iraq, the fall of the World Trade Center towers on September 11: when architectural totems such as these are destroyed by conflicts and the ravages of war, more than mere buildings are at stake. The Destruction of Memory—now available in this accessible, pocket edition—reveals the extent to which a nation weds itself to its landscape. Robert Bevan argues that such destruction not only shatters a nation’s culture and morale but is also a deliberate act of eradicating a culture’s memory and, ultimately, its existence.

Bevan combs through world history to highlight a range of wars and conflicts in which the destruction of architecture was pivotal. From Cortez’s razing of Aztec cities to the carpet bombings of Dresden and Tokyo in World War II to the war in the former Yugoslavia, The Destruction of Memory exposes the cultural war that rages behind architectural annihilation, revealing that in this subliminal assault lies the complex aim of exterminating a people. He provocatively argues for “the fatally intertwined experience of genocide and cultural genocide,” ultimately proposing the elevation of cultural genocide from “collateral damage” to a crime punishable by international law.

240 pages | 67 halftones | 5 x 7 3/4 | © 2016

Architecture: History of Architecture

History: Military History

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“Groundbreaking study of cultural heritage in zones of conflict.”

New York Review of Books

"Powerful . . . Bevan’s book serves as a remarkably passionate but evenhanded exposition of the neglected architectural heritage of places like Poland, Muslim Bosnia, Armenia, Tibet, Iraq and Cyprus . . . blends together architectural history with a journalist’s instinct for a human story."—

Kieran Long | Icon

"The sheer volume and scope of the material Bevan has gathered on the destruction of architectural heritage as a form of 'cultural cleansing' makes The Destruction of Memory a valuable resource. . . . The mass of absolutely fascinating, morally complex, and, to me at least, often unfamiliar material . . . makes Bevan well worth reading. . . . And yet the book is worth reading, because Bevan uses vivid narrative detail to bring to our attention the important insight that 'the destruction of the cultural artifacts of an enemy people or nation' can be a kind of analog to genocide or ethnic cleansing."

Diana Muir | History News Network

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The Enemies of Architecture and Memory
2. Cultural Cleansing: Who Remembers the Armenians?
3. Terror: Morale, Messages and Propaganda 
4. Conquest and Revolution 
5. Fences and Neighbours: The Destructive Consequences of Partition
6. Remember and Warn I: Rebuilding and Commemoration
7. Remember and Warn II: Protection and Prosecution

Photographic Acknowledgements

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