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Monuments to Absence: Cherokee Removal and the Contest over Southern Memory by Andrew Denson

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Public History emerged as an academic field about fifty years ago, spurred on, some claim, by the job crisis for history PhDs at that time. Only relatively recently has the study of the history of evolving public history become a focus for scholarly work. And, of course, like other academic fields, the study of anything concerned with ethnic minorities, especially Native Americans, has lagged. So it is with quite a drum-roll that we can announce that a book is now available that chronicles and analyses public history efforts to commemorate the Trail of Tears. Tiya Alicia Miles, a female African-American professor at the University of Michigan who has written both non-fiction and fiction works on Cherokee slavery, writes of this book, “Subtle, powerful, and riveting. Monuments to Absence delves into why and how the historical event of the Cherokee Trail of Tears is remembered in the South. Andrew Denson offers readers a fascinating, stimulating, and wide-ranging treatment of the role of Cherokee removal in southern memory that will set a new directional course in Native American studies and southern history.” Andrew Denson is a history professor at Western Carolina University.

Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2017. 289 pages with an Index, Bibliography, Notes and photos. Trade paperback