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Here Lies America: Buried Agendas Family Secrets at the Tourist Sites Where Bad History Went

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Here Lies America is a fast-paced, hilarious travel narrative in which Jason Cochran visits the major American tourism attractions that exist because something really horrible happened there. He romps through disaster zones, battlefields, terrorist attack sites—as long as it has a parking lot and a gift shop, he put it on the itinerary, no gravestone unturned. Along the wa Here Lies America is a fast-paced, hilarious travel narrative in which Jason Cochran visits the major American tourism attractions that exist because something really horrible happened there. He romps through disaster zones, battlefields, terrorist attack sites—as long as it has a parking lot and a gift shop, he put it on the itinerary, no gravestone unturned. Along the way, he takes a look at the motivations of the people who installed the monuments, and when he pauses to seek the meaning behind the early demise of one of his own ancestors, he uncovers a tragic race-based murder plot that had been buried for a century. This is an American journey that could only be undertaken in our turbulent times, celebrating the absurd while surveying the country's teetering patriotic mythology from a healthy position on the margins. Jason chases newspaper clippings in dusty archives to inscriptions on rusty plaques to get to the truth, and in doing so, creates a moving miniature portrait of what it really means to be an American: what's "fact," what's "history," and what really matters.


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Here Lies America is a fast-paced, hilarious travel narrative in which Jason Cochran visits the major American tourism attractions that exist because something really horrible happened there. He romps through disaster zones, battlefields, terrorist attack sites—as long as it has a parking lot and a gift shop, he put it on the itinerary, no gravestone unturned. Along the wa Here Lies America is a fast-paced, hilarious travel narrative in which Jason Cochran visits the major American tourism attractions that exist because something really horrible happened there. He romps through disaster zones, battlefields, terrorist attack sites—as long as it has a parking lot and a gift shop, he put it on the itinerary, no gravestone unturned. Along the way, he takes a look at the motivations of the people who installed the monuments, and when he pauses to seek the meaning behind the early demise of one of his own ancestors, he uncovers a tragic race-based murder plot that had been buried for a century. This is an American journey that could only be undertaken in our turbulent times, celebrating the absurd while surveying the country's teetering patriotic mythology from a healthy position on the margins. Jason chases newspaper clippings in dusty archives to inscriptions on rusty plaques to get to the truth, and in doing so, creates a moving miniature portrait of what it really means to be an American: what's "fact," what's "history," and what really matters.

39 review for Here Lies America: Buried Agendas Family Secrets at the Tourist Sites Where Bad History Went

  1. 4 out of 5

    Abbie Condie

    “Whose deaths do we pay homage to and why?” is the central question of this book. But this pop history book also tackles some other uncomfortable questions like, “who shapes the way history is told at these sites?” and “why does every prominent memorial seem to have a gift shop?” The majority of this book focused on visiting sites connected to the Civil War, which gave me some valuable historical perspective on the current debate over Confederate monuments. The author is a travel writer who’s pa “Whose deaths do we pay homage to and why?” is the central question of this book. But this pop history book also tackles some other uncomfortable questions like, “who shapes the way history is told at these sites?” and “why does every prominent memorial seem to have a gift shop?” The majority of this book focused on visiting sites connected to the Civil War, which gave me some valuable historical perspective on the current debate over Confederate monuments. The author is a travel writer who’s passionate about history, so the book focuses on his experience visiting these different sites, while weaving in his family’s own unusual history and his supplemental research. He approaches each memorial with what I considered to be a healthy dose of skepticism to over simplified historical narratives, off color souvenirs for sale, and emotionally manipulative displays. But at the same time, he bemoans the notable sites in US history that do not have any sort of memorial in place. This tension remains throughout the book, and ultimately left to the reader to ponder more fully.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ash Otterloo

    A brutally honest, fascinating, and interesting look at the origins of many beloved and infamous historical tourist traps in the US, exposing roots of racism, money-grabbing, and twists and turn through family history. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Loved it. Fascinating read that has you rethinking what you were taught in history class versus the often deeply hidden truth of how and why many of America's monuments came to be. Intertwined with his quest to uncover a piece of his own family history, Cochran immediately engages with a witty and sly delivery, and his compelling insight and love of quirky details makes for a fast and fun read. The surprises of what you thought you knew are numerous--and sometimes even jaw-dropping--as Cochran r Loved it. Fascinating read that has you rethinking what you were taught in history class versus the often deeply hidden truth of how and why many of America's monuments came to be. Intertwined with his quest to uncover a piece of his own family history, Cochran immediately engages with a witty and sly delivery, and his compelling insight and love of quirky details makes for a fast and fun read. The surprises of what you thought you knew are numerous--and sometimes even jaw-dropping--as Cochran reveals a perspective of American history long concealed but now rightly placed in full view. Cannot wait to share this book with US history-loving friends and family!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    As a trusted travel writer, Jason now brings his love of history and it's true meaning into book form. Weaving historical travel site vists with a long ago family mystery is cleverly done. I had no idea how some of these places came about and certainly never thought about hidden agendas, but the depth of digging (pardon the pun) Jason did is quite remarkable. HIs humor throughout the book takes away any thought that you are really learning facts about our country at the same time. This book defin As a trusted travel writer, Jason now brings his love of history and it's true meaning into book form. Weaving historical travel site vists with a long ago family mystery is cleverly done. I had no idea how some of these places came about and certainly never thought about hidden agendas, but the depth of digging (pardon the pun) Jason did is quite remarkable. HIs humor throughout the book takes away any thought that you are really learning facts about our country at the same time. This book definitely makes you think and now I will always want to know who or what was behind the historical site I will be visiting in the future.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    Highly recommend for any history buffs out there!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heather Jones

    Witty, truth telling about American history! It is thought provoking and I could not put it down. A must read!

  7. 4 out of 5

    John C Whitcraft

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marjorie

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dustin Wax

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mia Russell

  11. 4 out of 5

    Zach

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  16. 5 out of 5

    Katie B

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  18. 5 out of 5

    Diane

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cherie

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  22. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  23. 5 out of 5

    T

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kacy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Slagle

  26. 5 out of 5

    Molly

  27. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  28. 5 out of 5

    Akscott

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michaela Potter

  31. 4 out of 5

    Jacquie

  32. 5 out of 5

    Reanst

  33. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  34. 5 out of 5

    Kate Sortino

  35. 4 out of 5

    Demi Utley

  36. 4 out of 5

    Aidan

  37. 4 out of 5

    Brittany Cartwright

  38. 5 out of 5

    Anik Nadeau

  39. 4 out of 5

    Robin

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