Memory: Fragments of a Modern History
Fragments of a Modern History
by Alison Winter
$30.00 List Price
In 1906, a young carpenter named Richard Ivens was accused of murder after a woman’s body was found in a vacant lot behind his Chicago workshop. Subjected to hours of interrogation, he signed a confession, but later retracted it, insisting the admission of guilt was obtained after police caused him to have a “false memory” of the crime. Here was a legal, scientific, and perhaps even philosophical conundrum: Could a person be made to remember an event that never happened?
Thus begins Alison Winter’s impressive cultural history of memory. “We have become the first culture in history to subject memory . . . to the authority of the sciences,” she writes. “This book is about how that happened, and why it matters.” By investigating incidents such as the Ivens case, Winter argues that the ongoing battle over
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