by Peter Hughes
7 Sept 2021
From antiquity to the present day, this book offers a fascinating insight into the histories, movements and conflicts which have come to shape our world, viewed through the stories of the destruction of 21 statues. A British slave trader dumped in the river. An Aboriginal warrior twice beheaded.
A Chinese philosopher consumed by fire. Confederate soldiers hacked to pieces. A Greek goddess left to rot in the desert...
Statues stand as markers of collective memory connecting us to a shared sense of belonging. When societies fracture into warring tribes, we convince ourselves that the past is irredeemably evil. So, we tear down our statues, forgetting that what begins with the destruction of statues, ends with the killing of people.
This remarkable book is a compelling history of love and hate spanning every continent, religion and era, told through the destruction of 21 statues. Peter Hughes' original approach, blending philosophy, psychology and history, explores how these symbols of our identity give us more than an understanding of our past. In the wars that rage around them, they may also hold the key to our future.
The 21 statues are Hatshepsut (Ancient Egypt), Nero (Suffolk, UK), Athena (Syria), Buddhas of Bamiyan (Afghanistan), Hecate (Constantinople), Our Lady of Caversham (near Reading, UK), Huitzilopochtli (Mexico), Confucius (China), Louis XV (France), Mendelssohn (Germany), The Confederate Monument (US), Sir John A. Macdonald (Canada), Christopher Columbus (Venezuela), Edward Colston (Bristol, UK), Cecil Rhodes (South Africa), George Washington (US), Stalin (Hungary), Yagan (Australia), Saddam Hussein (Iraq), B. R.
Ambedkar (India) and Frederick Douglass (US). The book includes a black and white illustration of each statue by talented artist and designer Jack Smyth, as well as an illustrated map showing their geographical location. As statues fall throughout the world, A History of Love and Hate in 21 Statues is a profound and unmissable meditation on identity and a heartfelt plea for tolerance.