"Space radar, infrared photography, carbon dating, DNA analysis, microfilm, digital databases - we have better technology than ever before for studying and preserving the past. And yet the by-products of technology threaten to destroy - in one or two generations - monuments, works of art, and ways of life that have survived thousands of years of hardship and war. This paradox is central to our age. We can access infinite amounts of information on the internet, but the historical context of it all is escaping us. Globalization may eventually benefit countries around the world; it will also, almost certainly, lead to the disappearance of hundreds of regional dialects, languages, and whole societies." "In The Future of the Past, Alexander Stille takes us on a tour of the past as it exists today and weighs its prospects for tomorrow, from China to Somalia to Washington, D.C. Through incisive portraits of their protagonists, he describes high-tech struggles to save the Great Sphinx and the Ganges; efforts to preserve Latin within the Vatican; the digital glut inside the National Archives, which may have lost more information in the information age than ever before; and an oral culture threatened by a "new" technology: writing itself. Wherever it takes him, Stille explores not just the past but also our ideas about the past: how they are changing - and how they will have to change if our past is to have a future."--BOOK JACKET.