This work addresses a pressing contemporary issue - who owns and controls the past? - for decisions taken by those in power in the past cast long shadows into the future. From the starting point of conversations with those who have lived that history or are living with its consequences, the author pursues the questions asa personal quest. Starting with the aftermath of World War II in France, Germany and Japan, this book loops back to the legacy of slavery in the American South, before moving on to South Africa, Bosnia and Rwanda, and to Argentina and Chile as it charts two competing drives - the potentially corrupting desire to control the past in order to shape the future and the aspiration to achieve a standard of universal justice.
Erna Paris is a writer and historian and the author of five critically acclaimed books including UNHEALED WOUNDS: FRANCE AND THE KLAUS BARBIE AFFAIR (1985) and THE END OF DAYS: TOLERANCE, TYRANNY AND THE EXPULSION OF THE JEWS FROM SPAIN (1995). She lives in Toronto.