A fascinating tour of the past as it exists today, and of the dangers that threaten it, through incisive portraits of our attempts to maintain it: the high-tech struggles to save the Great Sphinx and the Ganges; the efforts to preserve Latin within the Vatican; the digital glut inside the National Archives, which may have caused more information to be lost than ever before; and an oral culture threatened by a "new" technology: writing itself. Stille explores not simply the past, but our ideas about the past—and how they will have to change if our past is to have a future.
About the Author
Alexander Stille is the author of Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic, Benevolence and Betrayal, and The Future of the Past. He is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Times.
“An exhilaratingly panoramic, inescapably poignant snapshot of a world poised in a Janus moment, where technology is both bane and savior of the past and present.” —Newsday (New York)
“A smart and engaging work...[by] a clean, clear writer... His ideas are anchored in the tangible and...you can take your pick of the strong essays in The Future of the Past.” —The New York Times Book Review
“This book is worth reading for its chapter on the Sphinx alone.” —Harper's Magazine
“Illuminating and engrossing...a fresh, lively, and ultimately wrenching display of a world transforming itself irrevocably.” —The New York Observer
“Fascinating...deftly written, keenly observed.” —The New York Times