book cover smashing

Smashing Statues book cover

Smashing Statues

The Rise and Fall of America's Public Monuments

By Erin L. Thompson

Smashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of America’s Public Monuments is an extensive history of the memorials we build, why we build them, and asks us to consider the history behind some of the most revered statues. Author, lawyer, professor and an authority on the deliberate destruction of art, Erin L. Thompson leads readers through the past, present, and future of public monuments. The book provides us with the opportunity to consider how we decide what monuments should be built and how we decide when they should be removed.

Smashing Statues book cover

Learn More

About the Author

With doctorates in art history and law, Erin L. Thompson is known as a leading expert on the past, present, and future of public monuments in America.

Testudo Timeline

See how the University of Maryland campus has evolved as statues, buildings, and public spaces have been created and named.

Related Media

Take a look at some examples in recent media of how Americans continue to interrogate the meaning behind public monuments.

Past First Year Books

The First Year Book provides a sense of community on campus as we together question the world around us. Past selections include All We Can Save, What the Eyes Don't See, and Weapons of Math Destruction.

FYB Author Visit

Read the "Maryland Today" Q&A with author Erin Thompson. View photos from Thompson's campus visit on November 7.

Meet the 2023 First Year Book Committee

  • Alyssa Berrios – Undergraduate Studies
  • James Butler – Associate Professor, Behavioral and Community Health, School of Public Health
  • Lawrence Clark – Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies
  • Traci Dula – Associate Director, Honors College
  • Jessica Enoch – Professor, English
  • Lisa Kiely – Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies and Ombudsperson
  • Marilee Lindemann – Associate Professor and Executive Director, College Park Scholars
  • Elisabeth Frost Maring – Associate Clinical Professor, Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health
  • Sydney Neal – Undergraduate Student
  • Ashley Newby – Lecturer and Director, Undergraduate Studies and African American Studies
  • Korey Rothman – Director, CIVICUS
Erin Thompson visits the University of Maryland
The University of Maryland is full of monuments memorializing important local historical figures and notable alumni.