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Never Forget: a new book explores why the West needs to remember its history—with pride

The argument may be flawed, but Francis O’Gorman’s calm insight in her new book Forgetfulness is compelling

By Samuel Earle   January 2018

“Forgetting,” claims Francis O’Gorman, is now “the principal attitude to the past.” His new book has two aims: to trace a history of how memory’s place within society has changed; and then to offer a rallying cry for liberal nations to “celebrate and explore history’s best achievements, both things and acts.”

As new forms of backwards-looking nationalism are blamed for sending the west into the arms of Donald Trump, it might seem strange to publish a book lamenting the “forgetfulness” of liberal societies. But O’Gorman, a professor of English at Edinburgh, suggests that…

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