From Library Journal
This study of American cemeteries over the past 200 years uses four central examples to demonstrate the evolution of cemetery construction. Beginning with a centrally located burial ground (New Haven, 1796), the book examines the development of the rural cemetery movement (Mount Auburn, 1831), the beginnings of formal landscaping (Spring Grove, 1845), and the creation of modern, uniform memorial parks (Forest Lawn, 1913). Although not the central focus of the study, accompanying changes in American funeral practices and attitudes toward death are also discussed. This book serves as an American counterpart to Philippe Aries's landmark European study The Hour of Our Death ( LJ 2/1/81). Studies of death and burial customs are becoming more common in the field of social history; this title is essential for libraries that collect in this area.
- Linda Smith, Mobil Corp. Lib., Fairfax, Va.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Four generations of David Charles Sloane's family have designed, landscaped, and managed cemeteries, so when he tells that story in The Last Great Necessity he does so with a professional's equanimity and expertise. In his exploration of the evolving design, economics, and social role of the American cemetery, Sloane handily demonstrates the cemetery's vital connection to popular culture, one he believes to be at least as strong as its more obvious tie to religious custom." -- Voice Literary Supplement
"An important contribution to an understanding of how Americans perceived death and to the growing commercialization of burial practices and customs. The more than fifty illustrations and tables provide dramatic evidence of a changing cultural form." -- Historian
"The most comprehensive history of American cemeteries yet published... Sloane's most original contribution is his analysis of the management side of cemetery life, showing how economic changes and institutions affected religious and aesthetic ideals in the cemetery." -- Journal of American History
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