Changes or innovations which threaten our heritage' arouse great hostility in those who want to preserve the past in its entirity. The heritage' has become a commodity, a device to sell everything from biscuits to country houses. Fowler skilfully examines the present relationship between the past and the present, analysing the manner in which we mould and interpret the past to fit our current needs. He assesses the influence of our heritage in the last decade of the 20th century, and with a wide range of examples judges the consequences of the increasing pressures of the heritage industry. As well as a diagnosis of where the past is being misused, he provides prescriptions for responsible development, and a thoughtful interpretation of a common past. As well as addressing the needs of the professional involved in the heritage industry he also considers the consumer - all those who visit museums, enjoy a historic site or an art exhibition, or who simply dislike the hijacking of our common heritage by commercial or vested interests.