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.
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.
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.
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.