The article analyzes one of the ways that history makes the headlinestoday: in discussions of whether the present can--and should--apologize for the past. It examines this recent phenomenon by asking if historical apologies have the ability to facilitate a process of historical reconciliation. In its first three sections, the article explores the range and forms of apologies reported in the press during the last decade or so, the motives and goals of apologists, and the reasoning of those with misgivings about the utility and wisdom of apologies. A fourth section assesses the efficacy of historical apologies. Is an apology a meaningful way for the present to engage the past or to address historic human injustice? Do apologies have the power to reconcile? The conclusion offers a brief explanation for why we seem to be living in an age of apology.
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