How to Read a Graveyard

Death is the one certainty in life, yet, with the decline of religion in the West, we have become collectively reluctant to talk about it Our contemporary rituals seek to sanitise death and distance us from our own inevitable fate If we want to know how previous generations dealt with death, graveyards famous and not tell us the history if we are able to read them.Death is the one certainty in life, yet, with the decline of religion in the West, we have become collectively reluctant to talk about it Our contemporary rituals seek to sanitise death and distance us from our own inevitable fate If we want to know how previous generations dealt with death, graveyards famous and not tell us the history if we are able to read them If we want to know how we struggle today with understanding or facing up to death, then graveyards provide a starting point And, if we want to escape the present taboo on acknowledging our mortality and contemplate our own end, then graveyards offer a rare welcome.From Neolithic mounds to internet memorials via medieval corpse roads and municipal cemeteries, war graves and holocaust memorials, Roman catacombs, Pharaonic grave robbers, Hammer horrors, body snatchers, Days of the Dead, humanist burials and flameless cremations, Stanford shows us how to read a graveyard, what to look out for in our own, and how even the most initially unpromising exploration can enthral.
How to Read a Graveyard Death is the one certainty in life yet with the decline of religion in the West we have become collectively reluctant to talk about it Our contemporary rituals seek to sanitise death and distance u

  • Title: How to Read a Graveyard
  • Author: Peter Stanford
  • ISBN: 9781441179777
  • Page: 217
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “How to Read a Graveyard”

    1. Although I enjoyed this book, I feel that the title is a little misleading.Although there is a useful A-Z of what may be found within a graveyard the book consists of the author, Peter Stanford’s, experiences as he visits various burial places from Rome, Norfolk, Edinburgh, Paris, London and Liverpool and muses on the nature of death and remembrance. He also visits the acres of Commonwealth war graves in France and ends the book on a trip to a Buckinghamshire woodland burial ground. So, all as [...]

    2. Death and griefs are complex things and so is graveyards.With this book it's not only a history of graveyards but also a picture into different social structures and human interactions with death and graves. What is so compelling about the graves of heroes of the past, that makes people visit them even now, even when the person has been gone for a century or more. This book explore this and so much more. Our attitudes to death and graveyards have changed over the centuries from mass-graves to ov [...]

    3. Fascinating journey through the history of our attitudes to death, the dead and burial. Each chapter focuses on a different graveyard, from the burial places of ancient Rome through a medieval churchyard in Norfolk to the First World War graves of northern France and a modern, eco-friendly English ‘burial park’, showing how through the centuries we have variously revered or shunned talk of death, while yet persisting in showing respect for the dead.Macabre? Not in the least. The author is a [...]

    4. Quite interesting to read, learnt a few useful conversational pieces that I shall employ at some stage between now and my death. This book was good but the order of the chapters threw me a little. I stumbled across this book while looking for 'Rest in Pieces' Bess Lovejoy and figured I'd give it a go - this is one of those areas I find extremely fascinating and I would love to be Cemetery Warden, living on the grounds, tending to the dead. I almost applied for 'Crematorium Assistant' at the ONLY [...]

    5. Very good - Peter Stanford is an excellent guide to various graveyards in England and also in France and Italy.He is always respectful and considerate of all he sees, and his comments are thought provoking too. Clearly a very nice man, a good, loving father (he takes his children along on some of his travels) and an ideal companion for such a tour.Having just returned from a few days visiting the Somme battlefields in Northern France, I found the chapters covering the Commonwealth War Graves par [...]

    6. An excellent book which, through a tour of significant graveyards in the author's world, provides a deeply reflective series of essays on civilisation's approach not just to death throughout the ages, but also what it means to be remembered and how one wants to be remembered. From Ancient Rome to Paris to England, this is an absolutely fascinating analysis of our obsession with remembrance after death, with a level of unexpected emotion as the author asks us to contemplate his and our own mortal [...]

    7. If, like me, you have a morbid fascination for graveyards then this book will satisfy your curiosity and feed your habit nicely. The author, Peter Stanford, is as good a writer as he is a speaker (I had the honour of attending a lecture by him recently). The book is written in an informative manner without being heavy and has little anecdotes scattered through it to keep the reader interested. You may or may not be interested in graveyards, but this book is certainly worth a read.

    8. An intriguing look at the history of death, burial, cemeteries and our general avoidance of facing our mortality. The look at the soldiers' burial grounds was interesting, with the difference between the facilities used for Allied vs. Axis soldiers & how the surrounding communities treated each. I particularly enjoyed the final cemeteries visited that offer "green" or "natural" burials - a way to change our funerary rites that have remained stagnant since the Victorian age.

    9. A brief but thoughtful survey of some Western European traditions around death, burial, memorials, and monuments. Peppered with references to literature that I had either never heard of, our should have read long ago and now will make time for.Good books that lead to even better books are the best books. Or something like that.

    10. Beautifully written, engaging and thought-provoking. Interesting chapters on various graveyards including ones in Rome, France and the UK. This was given to me as a gift as I am interested in learning about funeral architecture and the meanings of symbols within graveyards - it does not really discuss this but was a fascinating read anyway.

    11. A good quirky read - though the title is misleading its more of a cemetery travelogue than a how to read book. I'd been to a couple of the places in here though and the observations are acute and interesting

    12. Some lovely facts but they were thin on the ground. I was expecting a lot more nitty gritty of symbolism and meaning, and rather less in the way of meditating on death, which I can do myself. Not a bad book but not an attention-holder I fear.

    13. History of a few selected graveyards written in approachable lively style while still being respectful. A few illustrations which are poorly reproduced.

    14. A really touching read that is part travelogue, part rumination on death in our culture and part historical review. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a stroll through a cemetery.

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