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Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
45
The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses
Format: Hardcover|Change
Price:$34.16+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on October 11, 2011
This is a remarkable book. It is beautifully produced and manages to span the realms of the coffee table grimoire and the insightful scholarly work. Paul Koudounaris speaks authoritatively and succinctly, revealing a world of life and hope that has been effectively extinguished in modern society. There is an unsettling message that resonates through every page; by marginalizing and concealing our beloved dead, we take some of the vivacity from our own lives. Plus, you get a built-in ribbon bookmark.

The Empire of Death will likely change the way you think about death, even if you had a relatively amicable relationship before.
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on September 9, 2017
A wonderful book, with stunning photos to bring up the authors study on the history he sets to lay out. Wonderful addition to my collection.
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on May 3, 2017
Amazing book at a great price! Love the color plates inside, a very interesting read.
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on March 20, 2017
Oh, my goodness! Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating. Thanks!
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on March 11, 2013
I was led to this book by one of the best articles I've ever read -[...]
Even if you've read the book, check out the article, as there are a couple of stories in there that aren't in the book.

Koudounaris' research into the macabre and history of charnel houses is very in-depth. The photos are excellent, and while the prose could be slightly more entertaining. I've already rated this at 5 stars, but if he had incorporated more stories in the style found in the article, I would have tried to rate it at 6/5.
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on August 26, 2013
The photos are really what this book is all about - stunning, chilling, perplexing and intriguing glimpses into the burial or preservation practices of centuries past.

If you actually "read" the book, there are some issues: very small typeface, a bit frozen and boring in terms of content, and not a robust accompaniment for the incredible photos.

I looked through and enjoyed this and then gave it away as a sumptuous gift to a friend.
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on August 21, 2014
I got this book for my girlfriend who loved her trip to the Paris Catacombs. The book is beautiful and will be a lovely albeit macabre coffee table book. For anyone interested in catacombs, ossuaries, skeletons, or a darker side of history. Overall an amazing book cover to cover that my girlfriend and I both enjoy.
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on February 6, 2017
Beautiful book. Excellent photography and well written. The cover, pages etc are just beautiful.
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on October 26, 2011
Littered around Europe are so called Ossuaries where bones are
kept either in special niches or arranged in convivial macabre
baroque art. This book is a compendium of such shrines and a
homage to death itself.

Paul Koudounaris has documented well and little known Charnel
Houses, not to mention he presented it with flair and supplemented
with several pictures.

Included in this handsome hardbound book are the famous Capuchin
Church in Palermo,Scwarzenberg Chapel, Waldsassen and Church of
Saint Francis in Portugal.

This is highly recommended for those who are Connosieurs of the
Strange and those who are not brave enough to cross the threshold
of the said chapels and churches. Dr. Koudounaris has done an
excellent job and give us a free tour of the Realm of the Dead.
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on December 26, 2016
Very good and interesting - loved the beautiful photos
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