The Politics of Mourning

The Politics of Mourning

Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery

Book - 2016
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Arlington National Cemetery holds a distinctive place in American culture and self-conception. An active cemetery that averages thirty interments every weekday, it receives four million visitors each year who come to pay their respects to those who have sacrificed their lives to defend and protect the nation through war and peace. It is a sacred shrine in the popular imagination, hallowed ground that stands not only for those buried within but also for the ideals for which they died and which continue to require honor and respect from all American citizens. As perhaps the most critical site of collective mourning and remembrance in the country, Arlington has become an icon of American patriotism and national identity. Yet despite its central place in the nation's commemoration of its past heroes, few have ventured into the actual history of the place to show how it has evolved from its initial establishment during the Civil War to its current status. Micki McElya delves deeply into the historical past to get beyond the popular narratives and guides to this favorite tourist destination that is so heavily invested with national honor and reverence. In doing so, she gives us the first full history of the cemetery as a physical place that has been shaped and transformed by the political and cultural aims and circumstances of succeeding generations.-- Provided by publisher
Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 2016
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780674737242
0674737245
Characteristics: 395 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

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EmilyEm
Nov 10, 2017

I was attracted to this book as someone who loves big old cemeteries with so much history. What made it even more interesting was reading about the politics through the years concerning recognition of Robert E. Lee, given all the recent news about Confederate memorials. McElya has strong opinions, which I mostly supported, but people who disparage identity politics may take issue.

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