Written in Stone

Public Monuments in Changing Societies

Book Pages: 224 Illustrations: 28 photographs Published: October 2018

American Studies, History > U.S. History, Law > Legal History

Twentieth Anniversary Edition with a new preface and afterword

From the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans in the spring of 2017 to the violent aftermath of the white nationalist march on the Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville later that summer, debates and conflicts over the memorialization of Confederate “heroes” have stormed to the forefront of popular American political and cultural discourse. In Written in Stone Sanford Levinson considers the tangled responses to controversial monuments and commemorations while examining how those with political power configure public spaces in ways that shape public memory and politics. Paying particular attention to the American South, though drawing examples as well from elsewhere in the United States and throughout the world, Levinson shows how the social and legal arguments regarding the display, construction, modification, and destruction of public monuments mark the seemingly endless confrontation over the symbolism attached to public space.

This twentieth anniversary edition of Written in Stone includes a new preface and an extensive afterword that takes account of recent events in cities, schools and universities, and public spaces throughout the United States and elsewhere. Twenty years on, Levinson's work is more timely and relevant than ever.


"Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty." — W. C. Johnson, Choice

"Levinson offers more questions than answers, which I find appealing. . . . It is a short and highly readable book, which also makes it ideal for classroom use. If one wanted to provoke a lively debate in class, this book would be the ideal work." — Jeffrey E. Smith, Journal of American Culture

"Although the new material found in the 2018 edition has its limitations, the content that comprises the original version is certainly worth revisiting for the perspective it might provide in these troubled times." — Keith M. Finley, Arkansas Review

“Sanford Levinson has written a wonderfully wise and informed essay on the issue of how we commemorate the past when the past keeps on changing.” — Nathan Glazer, author of We Are All Multiculturalists Now

“Much has been written about the controversy over public presentations of history, but rarely has the question of how to memorialize our past received the thoughtful, incisive, and fair-minded analysis provided by Sanford Levinson.” — Eric Foner, author of The Story of American Freedom


Availability: In stock
Price: $25.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Sanford Levinson is Professor of Law at the University of Texas Law School and the author and editor of numerous books, most recently Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws That Affect Us Today (with Cynthia Levinson).

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface to the 2018 Edition  xi
Written in Stone
An Introduction  1
Afterword  125
Acknowledgments  203
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0280-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0172-0
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