The American Resting Place

The American Resting Place

Four Hundred Years of History Through Our Cemeteries and Burial Grounds

Book - 2008
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Traces the history of America through its gravestones, graveyards, and burial practices, in an illustrated study that follows the historic pattern of American immigration to reveal changing ideas about death, gender, and class.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008.
ISBN: 9780618624270
0618624279
Characteristics: xv, 336 p., [64] of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.

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DorisWaggoner
May 22, 2015

As a genealogist, I love cemeteries, so I picked this book up almost automatically. It begins with a section of atmospheric black and white photographs of cemeteries all over the country, beginning with a Native American burial mound in the South. After many trips to cemeteries all around the country, Yalom focuses on a handful that illustrate the evolution of burial practices over 400 years in America. If the subject interests you at all, you'll be fascinated at this look from Boston's early Puritan cemeteries, with skulls on the stones, to its "rural" Auburn park-like cemetery, full of statuary and beautiful flowers. She hunts for African American burials in the South, finds above-ground tombs in New Orleans, and mission cemeteries in California, and native traditions still active in Hawaiian cemeteries. Military cemeteries honor men and women who served their country, from France to Arlington to Hawaii. She tries to draw conclusions from her travels to cemeteries for our views of death; I didn't think they followed very well from what she'd reported on, so knocked off a star for that. But the reporting on the cemeteries, to say nothing of the pictures, is worth a read.

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