I popped into the large branch of Waterstones (formerly Dillons) in London over the weekend. They have several shelves of books identified as 'Academic Value' (i.e., 'whether or not they have any value is academic since no one has wanted to buy them up to now, so you can have them at a large discount'). I picked up two bargains: Interesting Times, the autobiography of Eric Hobsbawm; and Making Waves, essays on politics and culture by Mario Vargas Llosa.
Near the end of the Hobsbawm book, I find this:
"As old regimes disintegrate, old forms of politics fade away and new states multiply, the manufacture of new histories to suit new regimes, states, ethnic movements and identity groups becomes a global industry. As the human hunger for continuity with the past grows in an era designed as a continuous break with the past, the media society feeds it by inventing its versions of a box-office national history, 'heritage' and theme parks in fancy dress."
I suspect there's a fair amount I'll disagree with in the book, but that observation strikes a chord.
I was attracted to the Vargas Llosa collection by the description on the outside back cover of the contents, which include "reflections on the dog cemetery where Rin Tin Tin lies buried, Lorena Bobbit's knife, and the failures of the English public school system (which turned his son into a Rastafarian)...."