Lowenthal, David, 1923-2018
by Trevor Barnes FBA and Hugh Clout FBA
- 31 Oct 2019
- 28 (pages 337-364)
Belonging to a family of lawyers and professors, the polymath David Lowenthal hated disciplinary divisions. American by birth but British by inclination, he learned the practice of geography through wartime service in Western Europe. During a long and highly productive career, spent mainly at the American Geographical Society and then at University College London, he made important contributions to Caribbean studies, environmental history, landscape interpretation and cultural and historical geography. His later work on heritage informs mangement agencies across the globe. The ideas of the pioneering nineteenth-century environmentalist George Perkins March formed an essential touchstone for many aspects of his writing. In addition to scholarly articles and books (notably The Past is a Foreign Country), Lowenthal also wrote for a wider audience. His impact in the public realm was arguably as great as that among academics.