Jeanne's Reviews > The Future of the Past

The Future of the Past by Alexander Stille
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Jul 20, 09

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bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in January, 2003

I highly recommend this book if you're interested in archeology, art, cultural memory or in technology and the way it affects preservation efforts of all kinds. Highly readable the book contains essays on the rebuilding of the library in Alexandria, one priests efforts to preserve Latin in the Vatican, saving the Ganges from environmental disaster and more. The best thing about this book is that it outlines the paradoxes present in trying to "preserve" the past. In the section on the Sphinx and efforts to preserve it Egyptologist Mark Lerhner relates the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in physics "we change what we observe" to archeology saying "You study it you kill it." Another wonderful thing about this book is the author's examination of how differently different cultures view preservation.
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