Long Shadows by Erna Paris
Truth, Lies and History

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Synopsis

Long Shadows offers a personal examination into the shifting terrain of war and memory that seeks to understand how nations come to terms with their most painful history. Combining storytelling with observation, Paris takes the reader on a remarkable journey through four continents to explore how nations reinvent themselves after cataclysmic events. She seeks out politicians and powerbrokers, as well as men and women living in the aftermath of repression, asking the question: Who gets to decide what actually happened yesterday, then to propagate the tale? How do people live with the consequences? Any why is it that many countries cannot lay the past to rest?

Her journey takes her to the United States, with its memories of slavery; to South Africa, to sit in on a Truth and Reconciliation hearing to heal the divisions of apartheid; to Japan, to probe the unresolved struggled for truth in Second World history; to France, still wrestling with its wartime legacy of collaboration; to Germany, where ferocious 'memory battles' continue to swirl around the Holocaust; and to the former Yugoslavia, where she exposes the cynical shaping of historical memory, and the way the international community responded to the lethal outcome.

Paris takes us directly to the places of reckoning; she finds hope in the way ordinary people grapple with defining events of their lives, and in the changing face of international justice. Long Shadows illuminates the modern world and makes us question where we stand as individuals in relation to our own collective histories.
 

About Erna Paris

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Erna Paris is the winner of seven national and international writing awards. She is the author of five critically acclaimed books of literary non-fiction, most recently The End of Days: A Story of Tolerance, Tyranny and the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain, which won the 1996 Canadian National Jewish Book Award for History. She lives in Toronto
 
Published June 2, 2001 by Bloomsbury USA. 480 pages
Genres: History. Non-fiction

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In France, she views some of the trial of Maurice Papon, a former Nazi collaborator during the occupation, and again interviews a wide range of people (including a group of high school students who are skeptical about the French myth of a pervasive resistance movement during the war).

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The Guardian

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Long Shadows: Truth, Lies, and History Erna Paris 495pp, Bloomsbury, £20 Buy it at a discount at BOL Why do we lie?

Jun 02 2001 | Read Full Review of Long Shadows: Truth, Lies and...

The Guardian

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Long Shadows: Truth, Lies and History by Erna Paris (Bloomsbury, £9.99) The best history books ask what history is for, and Long Shadows is an ambitious attempt to address that question as it applies to much of the 20th century.

Jun 15 2002 | Read Full Review of Long Shadows: Truth, Lies and...

Publishers Weekly

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Paris makes an argument that psychologists—and anyone who's spent any time on the couch—will recognize: countries must confront painful historical episodes in order to resolve them.

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Time Out New York

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