What We Are Doing Today: Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves by Kirk Savage

Updated 30 July 2018
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What We Are Doing Today: Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves by Kirk Savage

Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves explores how the history of slavery and its violent end was told in public spaces — specifically in the sculptural monuments that came to dominate streets, parks, and town squares in 19th-century America. 

Looking at monuments built and unbuilt, author Kirk Savage shows how the greatest era of monument building in American history took place amid struggles over race, gender, and collective memory. 

Savage is the William S. Dietrich II Professor of History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. 

He is the author of Monument Wars: Washington D.C., the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape (Princeton) and the editor of The Civil War in Art and Memory. Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves probes a host of fascinating questions and remains the only sustained investigation of post-Civil War monument building as a process of national and racial definition, according to a review published in the Princeton University Press website. 

Featuring a new preface by the author that reflects on recent events surrounding the meaning of these monuments, and new photography and illustrations throughout, this new and expanded edition reveals how monuments have only become more controversial with the passage of time.


What We Are Reading Today: The Chief by Joan Biskupic

Updated 21 March 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: The Chief by Joan Biskupic

  • The Chief reveals the making of a justice and the drama on America’s highest court

This is an incisive biography of the US Supreme Court’s enigmatic chief justice, taking us inside the momentous legal decisions of his tenure so far. 

In The Chief, award-winning journalist Joan Biskupic contends that Chief Justice Roberts is torn between two, often divergent, priorities: To carry out a conservative agenda, and to protect the Supreme Court’s image and his place in history. 

Biskupic shows how Roberts’s dual commitments have fostered distrust among his colleagues, with major consequences for the law. Trenchant and authoritative, The Chief reveals the making of a justice and the drama on America’s highest court. 

“Given the court’s current composition, anyone who does not want the law to lurch to the right in civil rights, abortion and other areas has to hope Roberts will hold it close to its current course — either based on actual beliefs, or to protect the Supreme Court as an institution,” said Adam Cohen in a review published in The New York Times.

Biskupic has covered the Supreme Court since 1989.