Long Shadows: Truth, Lies, and History

ISBN: 1582342105
ISBN 13: 9781582342108
By: Erna Paris

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About this book

Winner of the Pearson Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize, the inaugural Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for political writing, and the Dorothy Shoichet Prize for History from the Canadian Jewish Book Awards. One of the most urgent issues facing the world today is how countries shape historical memory in the aftermath of calamity, making decisions that cast long shadows into the future. Combining gripping storytelling with sharp observation, Erna Paris takes us on an extraordinary journey through four continents to explore how nations reinvent themselves after cataclysmic events. She travels through the United States, with its long-buried memory of slavery; to South Africa, where the Truth and Reconciliation Commission struggles to heal the wounds left by apartheid; to Japan, France, and Germany, where the unresolved pain of Hiroshima and the Holocaust still resonate; and to the former Yugoslavia, where she exposes the cynical shaping of historical memory. Through its insightful analysis, Long Shadows compels us to question where we stand as individuals in relation to our own collective histories.

Reader's Thoughts


This book impacted the way I evaluated the presentation of history. It is an indepth look at how different countries handle the black marks that exist in their pasts.

Христо Блажев

Ровичкане в историческата тиня – “Дълги сенки” на Ерна Парис: http://www.knigolandia.info/2009/12/b... Канадката Ерна Парис си е поставила тежка задача – да изследва националната памет за тежки исторически събития като войни и репресии. За прицелна точка тя е взела Германия, Франция, Япония по отношение Втората световна война, САЩ за робството и Южна Африка и апартейда. Парис обикаля тези държави към края на 90-те и резултатът е една великолепна книга.

Suzie Diver

Very thought provoking... How do you deal with group or cultural guilt? Why are there so many Holocaust museums in the US and none focused on slavery?


On the phoenomenon of how nations, societies, and individuals face up to the shameful historical events of their recent past. Starts off with how Germany faces up to its Nazi past. So far, a good read.

Richard Janzen

Although this was not a quick or entertaining read, I think it was worth it. Each chapter focuses on a place and an issue: holocaust in germany, ww2 human rights violations in japan, apartheid in south africa, slavery in usa, war crimes in yugoslavia, etc. Each chapter introduces people and issues that show the complexities of each theme, and in particular relates the role of memory, apology and forgiveness.


An unforgiving account of history. Exceptionally hard to read, but necessary.


shared with Sarah - outstanding perspective - one of those books you think about just about every month thereafter

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