Alex von Tunzelmann

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Alex von Tunzelmann is a historian and screenwriter.

 

She is the author of five books on Cold War politics and culture, including the internationally bestselling Indian Summer: The secret history of the end of an Empire.

 

Alex wrote the 2017 feature film Churchill, starring Brian Cox, as well as episodes of Netflix's Medici: Masters of Florence. Her most recent book is Fallen Idols: Twelve Statues That Made History (Headline, 2021).

You can find Alex on Twitter @alexvtunzelmann

Alex von Tunzelmann's website.

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Fallen Idols: Statues, History and Memory

Sponsored by The Salty Blonde

In 2020, statues across the world were pulled down in an extraordinary wave of iconoclasm. Yet, this is not a new phenomenon; there have been such waves before – during the English Reformation, the French Revolution, the fall of the Soviet Union – and even Egyptian pharaohs used to smash statues of their predecessors and rivals.


However, in the United States and Britain, right-wing Republican and Conservative administrations took the moments of 2020 as an opportunity to stoke a ‘culture war’. They positioned themselves as the champions of American and British civilization: the last defence against ‘wokeness’. But if you look more deeply into it, the issue of statues is far more complicated.


At the root of the debate over statues is an issue that is essential, even existential: whose stories do we tell? Who or what defines us? Who gets to make these decisions? What if we don’t all agree? How is history made, why, and by whom?