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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Photos
It is beautifully illustrated. You really can confidently buy this for the photos alone.
I like the book a lot. It is pretty comprehensive and the types of symbols are broken down into like flora and fauna which makes it easy to reference, there is a nice listing of orginizations in the back. Nice bits of historical changes in the basic meaning of symbols.
No...
Published on July 18, 2004 by John C. Martine

versus
27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Images, Horrible Research
I was quite excited to find this book on the Bargain table at my local book store. The idea of a field guide to the imagery used within cemeteries, and with such good examples, was a great concept, and I really thought it was well done. However I had just flipped through it as I was in a hurry. The Images and topics were certainly on the mark. Once I was home and had a...
Published on December 19, 2009 by John Heilker


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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Photos, July 18, 2004
This review is from: Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography (Hardcover)
It is beautifully illustrated. You really can confidently buy this for the photos alone.
I like the book a lot. It is pretty comprehensive and the types of symbols are broken down into like flora and fauna which makes it easy to reference, there is a nice listing of orginizations in the back. Nice bits of historical changes in the basic meaning of symbols.
No book of listings of symbols is ever complete, I can think of a few things that could have been added, but buy it anyway. Great photos and you won't be disappointed.
And remember, just because someone had ivy carved on their gravestone does not mean that it symbolizes eternity, they really may have just thought it looked pretty.
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63 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Guide to Demystifying Cemetery Symbolism, August 19, 2004
This review is from: Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography (Hardcover)
It's been said that a person has one chance to make a first impression. Conversely, one only has one chance to make a last impression, and where better to make that impression than the cemetery, where your statement has the best chance for longevity? ~ Douglas Keister

Since I was very young, graveyards have always fascinated me. I love the look of graveyards at night, although I've yet to venture into them in the middle of the night. I live vicariously through the Buffy show as I watch the DVDs. While watching the Buffy show I became rather interested in the symbolism of various statues and objects.

Now, with all the seriousness of death in our society, you would not expect to find humor in a book about gravestones and iconography, but it is definitely present in the most witty fashion. I have rarely found a book that made me laugh out loud as many times and at such surprising times. Douglas Keister has a wicked sense of wit and in the midst of decoding a certain symbol or discussing history he will bring in an ironic twist that is shockingly amusing. He also explains the real meaning of "skeleton in the closet" and explained the uses of exploding torpedo coffins. Who knew. He has taken high-quality photographs which not only set the mood for this book, they help to emphasize the details being discussed.

On a more serious note, Stories in Stone is essential for gravestone scholars and cemetery sleuths. Suddenly you will view graveyards with a new appreciation.

Douglas Keister discusses Classic, Egyptian, Islamic, Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic, Italian Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical architecture. Through pictures and in depth research, he explains the oldest burial monuments and why a tumulus is mostly found in Western Europe.

Some of the Contents includes: Funerary Architecture: Designed for Eternity, Mausoleums, Chapels, Offices, Tombs, Sculptures, Memorials, the Sarcophagus, Stone Sentinels: Designed for Remembrance. Symbols: Plants and Flowers, Fruits, Grains, and Vines, Trees and Bushes, Animals, Fowls and Insects, Fishes and Mollusks, Reptiles and Amphibians, Mythical Creatures, Tradesmen's Tools, Religious Icons, Emblems, Insignias, Tokens, Death Seals and Angels.

You will also find informative and highly entertaining sections about:

Mortality Symbols
Christian Symbolism
Hebrew Symbolism
Chinese and Japanese Symbolism
Secret Societies

I now understand the relationship between Persephone and pomegranates, between the weeping willow and immortality and why my father objected to me dating a boy who gave me an anthurium-style flower.

While I don't intend to die anytime soon, I've already designed my own monument/gravestone which will be a girl peacefully sleeping with a cat on a bed and a butterfly perched precariously on the edge of the book resting in her sleeping hand. The girl will have angel wings and there will be at least three candles and of course, 5 stars placed somewhere in a row above a favorite quote. I also liked the idea of the tear vial and a key, not to mention a favorite flower. Perhaps someone could plant lavender around the grave or they could work lavender into the carving on the stone. I don't actually want to be buried, maybe they could just sprinkle my ashes around the stone and I could be reborn into the lavender plants.

Not only does this book inspire, make you laugh in places and bring enlightenment to anyone who loves to study gravestones, this book also has romance! Yes, there is a story of the Blocher Mausoleum in buffalo, New York. It is a story of love, loss and reminds us all that we only get one chance to live and love. So while this book gave me ideas for how to design my own sarcophagus, this book also reminded me of how much life I still want to live.

Oh, the cover is especially wonderful and the size of the book makes it perfect to stash away in your long black coat as you wander aimlessly through graveyards in the middle of the night.

~The Rebecca Review
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tells the story, October 31, 2006
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This review is from: Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography (Hardcover)
Received my copy today and went to the cemetery and immediately begin to understand the symbols and meaning behind them. If you are interested in the meaning of cemetery iconography, this is the book to get.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Companion on Visits to Cemeteries, November 24, 2005
This review is from: Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography (Hardcover)
I photograph in cemeteries and upon learning of this book through Amazon, picked up a copy. I must say, it is indeed a pleasure, a really information-packed book with a great deal of lovely descriptive photos. The book touches on some of the symbols one might find in specialized books on secret, hidden symbols.

I held back from giving it a full five star rating only because it seemed to skim only the surface on a few topics. But for anyone interested in this topic, someone who goes out on field trips to explore old cemeteries, this is a wonderful book to have.

It's fun reading over a cup of coffee, too.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly, highly recommend!, May 28, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography (Hardcover)
I work at a large, 141 yr. old cemetery in the midwest and I can't say enough about this book. The photos are amazing and the information is extensive. I appreciate that the author included information on the architectural styles and the history of memorials -all of the way back to antiquity. He also covered the symbols of various religions, and fraternal organizations.
I think this book would be facinating to anyone.
If you even have the slightest interest in cemeteries, monuments, or just history, then you must get this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't leave home without it, September 9, 2005
This review is from: Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography (Hardcover)
If you enjoy tramping through cemeteries large and small this is a book you will not want to be without. I keep it in the car all the time for those chance drive-bys of cemeteries I have not checked out. The author does a very good job of presenting each of the symbol topics is an educating as well as entertaining manner. My nine year old niece Sarah enjoyed looking at the book and is now more enthused when "strange Uncle Richard" wants to stop at a cemetery on a whim.

I am lucky enough to live close to one of the highlighted locations, Spring Grove in Cincinnati, Ohio.

From avid cemetery aficionado to the amateur CSI (Cemetery Scene Investigator) this book is "must have."
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful!, July 25, 2006
By 
Jana (Brea, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography (Hardcover)
A great book for lovers of cemeteries, symbolism, art and history. There are many photos and the text is interesting and well written. It's a very attractively designed book too and the size is rather different...it's smallish, yet tallish and meant to carry with you on your cemetery explorations. I do wish there was a coffee table style version of this book, larger with room for even more pictures! Buy this one, it'll make a lovely addition to your morbid book collection!
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Images, Horrible Research, December 19, 2009
This review is from: Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography (Hardcover)
I was quite excited to find this book on the Bargain table at my local book store. The idea of a field guide to the imagery used within cemeteries, and with such good examples, was a great concept, and I really thought it was well done. However I had just flipped through it as I was in a hurry. The Images and topics were certainly on the mark. Once I was home and had a chance to look through it I was mortified. The explanations for these symbols are not simply "simplistic" or "shallow" as another reviewer said. They're simply WRONG. You probably could get a better explanation out of Wikipedia... I do not know much about the author. However I feel they should stick to photography. Anyone with a basic back ground in theology, history, art, freemasonry, or the occult will quickly see just how badly the symbols are explained. If you just want a book with some interesting examples of symbols used in burial this is nice enough for that. The photos are well done. However it feels like a high school student did the research to write the book the night before it was due.

The only thing more horrifying to me then the definitions of these symbols, is the number of 5 stars people have posted for this. (I imagine equally ignorant as the author) Remember these were carefully and thoughtfully selected for the deceased by those that loved them and are simply mutilated by the definitions. Anyone serious about symbolism should look elsewhere, and the author I hope will primarily focus on their photography, and perhaps consider actually spending REAL time researching a topic before writing so much nonsense again.

Also a guidebook should speak of religions and philosophies with an amount of academic detachment ....not personal opinion.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and Curious!, December 30, 2006
By 
This review is from: Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography (Hardcover)
Even aside from cemeteries and graveyards, the information alone on symbols, emblems and icons is immensely resourceful. These combination visuals appear elsewhere too, not just in stone- not just for the dead! Many symbols for older societies and secret organizations in our world are touched upon, and their origins explained. Just a wonderful book. -Best, I love the format- easy handling! -For every designers' bookshelf.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't like the small format, but..., July 2, 2007
This review is from: Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography (Hardcover)
Dead men may tell no tales, but the symbols on their tombstones do. This guidebook is geared for genealogists and cemetery fans. Several chapters on cemetery symbols include Flora, Fauna, Religious Symbols, Secret Societies, and Mortality Symbols. Other chapters are a guide to cemetery architecture, tomb types and a selection of unique tombs.

The book is illustrated with numerous photographs and includes an alphabetical listing of acronyms and abbreviations of societies, clubs and organizations. A chapter on mortality symbols discusses everything from the skull and crossbones to the grim reaper. There are chapters on symbols of flora (plants), fauna (animals), and religions (Christian, Hebrew, Chinese and Japanese), including descriptions of different kinds of crosses. Angels, who seem to gather in cemeteries everywhere, get their own section called "Heavenly Messengers." I was especially impressed with the chapter devoted to secret societies and organizations such as the Masons/Freemasons, Woodmen of the World, Knights Templar, Knights of Columbus, Odd Fellows, Grand Army of the Republic, Shriners, and others. Each of these is illustrated with an example photograph.
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Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography
Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography by Douglas Keister (Hardcover - April 5, 2004)
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