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Monumental Lies

Robert’s recent book Monumental Lies: Culture Wars and the Truth about the Past is proving a critical success.

The book examines the politicisation of the historic environment and reminds us why material evidence matters so much. It has been a book of the year in the Financial Times,  the Art Newspaper and elsewhere. Robert is undertaking a tour of US universities and the Getty this September. A paperback edition will follow. 

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“One of the most compelling progressive voices in the heritage world … Using his nuanced knowledge of architectural history, he is attempting to unpick some of the myths and straight lies deployed when architecture is weaponised.”

– Eddie Blake, Tribune

“From statues of slave traders to pictures of medieval town centres offered as evidence of “cultural superiority”, architecture and public art are everywhere in a coarsened discourse. Robert Bevan…navigates the territory delicately and brilliantly”

– Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times, Best Books of 2022

“This close reading of the city is a potent response to the culture wars because it deals in precisely the historical honesty that culture warriors have no stomach for. Righteous but always nuanced, Bevan is the perfect guide to the way urban iconography distorts history and entrenches power.”

– Justin McGuirk, Senior Curator, Design Museum

“Wide ranging and rigorous, readable and profound, this superb book argues that if we can no longer trust the tangible world around us to tell the truth, then we are in trouble. Bevan offer us solutions arguing that we need to look at ways we can layer our monuments and our city that turns sites of honour into sites of shame, that change the meaning of the past without losing altogether the vital evidence of that past from the public realm.”

– Liza Fior, MUF Architecture/Art

“Bevan astutely argues that those who manipulate our cultural past are shaping our future, making the case that historic buildings have become battlegrounds for right-wing and nationalist political arguments.”

– The Art Newspaper, Top Books of 2022

“Topical, thought-provoking, knowledgeable about the uses and abuses of culture wars.”

– Rowan Moore, Observer architecture critic

Monumental Lies could hardly be better timed … Bevan’s book is the result of many years’ research and contemplation, and is thorough, extensive and provocative … brilliant”

– Emma Dent Coad MP, Building Design