A Rift in the Earth by James Reston Jr.

A Rift in the Earth

A Rift in the Earth tells the remarkable story of the ferocious "art war" that raged between 1979 and 1984 over what kind of memorial should be built to honor the men and women who died in the Vietnam War. The story intertwines art, politics, historical memory, patriotism, racism, and a fascinating set of characters, from those who fought in the conflict and those who resisted it to politicians at the highest level. At its center are two enduring...

Details A Rift in the Earth

TitleA Rift in the Earth
Release DateSep 5th, 2017
PublisherArcade Publishing
GenreNonfiction, History, Art, Politics, Design

Reviews A Rift in the Earth

  • Richard
    A quite remarkable book. The story of the genesis and establishment of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC, USA.The subtext of the title says "Art, Memory and the Fight for a Vietnam War Memorial."It is a complex issue and a deep scar in the American psyche. Not surprising given the political fall out of a conflict they government loss the ability to win, the honesty to admit its futility and the courage to withdraw in terms of saving comba...
  • Mac
    I came to A Rift in the Earth with a preconception to like the book before reading it. Some reasons: The Vietnam Memorial is among the most moving architectural achievements I have experienced. Additionally, I have always wanted to learn more about the arguments for and against the abstract wall vs representational statues. And sadly, I have a deep emotional attachment to the memorial because a dear friend's name is on the wall (February 17, 1968...
  • Yaaresse
    James Reston has written a in-depth book about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, but it is not so much a history of the structure as it is the history of how it came to be in spite of the difficult personalities, political agendas, and just plain arrogance posturing from many people eager to "own" the project. Given the egos involved and the contentious fights among various factions, it really is a wonder the memorial got built at all. Reston tries ...
  • Brady
    Fascinating book. I have a new, profound appreciation for the Vietnam Memorial. But more than that, this book demonstrated (whether intentionally or not) many parallels to the country we live in today - it was fascinating to see themes play out in relation to a piece of public art that are playing out today in relation to public policy.To be frank, I historically never really had much interest, understanding or appreciation for art. Well, let's s...
  • Christina
    I picked this book up after finishing Ken Burns' ten-part documentary on the Vietnam War, which ends with a brief overview on the controversial efforts to build a memorial to a complicated and hated war in the nation's capital. Reston's book provides the straightforward yet comprehensive explanation of the politics surrounding Maya Lin's stark (and moving, in my opinion) memorial to the 58,318 men and women who were killed in action or are missin...
  • Ann
    The politics surrounding the wall - and the personalities. It is a miracle that it ever came together in a way that is meaningful and continues to be meaningful over time. And yes, it does echo the politics of today: entrenched positions, larger than life personalities, shouting, women and their role...and the artist as reflector and celebrator of what has happened and is to be remembered.Reston's trip to Vietnam and his meeting with the English ...
  • Catherine
    I stumbled upon this book at the public library after I had finished, Maya Lin: Thinking with her hands. Reston covers how the memorial came to be, the contest, and the political aftermath through the dedication. Lin is not portrayed in a positive way. The sculptor, Hart, is described as a young artistic genius. I would love to visit the memorial again after reading this book. Reston misnames the university that Lin's parents worked at in Athens,...
  • Patrick Macke
    It makes sense that the Vietnam War and the "war" for the Vietnam Memorial produced the same basic result - divisiveness. The story starts out interesting but then becomes a catfight that ends up dragging the book down. The level of namecalling and backbiting and political posturing - that we were and are that small - simply make the book depressing ...The book isn't about The Wall it's about the "politics" of The Wall, a subject that's much less...
  • Judy
    I have always been fascinated by Maya Lin - how a young woman could design a memorial for the ages that is so moving. When I read a review of this book, I knew I had to read it. I remembered that there had been quite a bit of acrimony over the memorial but I had forgotten just how bitter the fight had been. This book gives the history and the stories behind the building/designing of the Vietnam Memorial in a very readable approachable way.
  • David Askanase
    This is a magnificent book. It is the story of the fight over the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial beginning with the announcement of the competition through the award of the design to Maya Lin to the vicious fight between the artistic community and the detractors oved the design and purpose to the completion and dedication. Fascinating and recent enough to be almost current!