Digging up the Dead in Obit magazine
Michael Kammen’s new book Digging Up the Dead: A History of Notable American Reburials offer an unconventional take on American cultural history, but who would have thought that in fact there exists an entire magazine devoted to a similar “examination of life through the lens of death?” In any case, we would have never guessed it, if not for this recent review of Kammen’s book in the latest edition of Obit magazine.
The review begins:
We’re constantly, reflexively, wishing for the dead to “rest in peace.” It’s almost a throwaway line, but also a benediction, meant literally and figuratively. Burial signals the end of life’s journey, life’s struggle—a final repose for the secular, and a way station for those who believe that body and spirit will re-unite in an afterlife.
But the finality of burial itself is far from guaranteed. For the famous, the notorious, and sometimes even the obscure, interment may be just the first move in a protracted struggle over ownership, identification, reputation and history. Such contests are the subject of Michael Kammen’s Digging up the Dead: A History of Notable American Reburials, which catalogues the surprisingly peripatetic fate of many of this country’s most illustrious corpses.