Digging Up the Dead by Michael Kammen
A History of Notable American Reburials

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Synopsis

With Digging Up the Dead, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Michael Kammen reveals a treasure trove of fascinating, surprising, and occasionally gruesome stories of exhumation and reburial throughout American history. Taking us to the contested grave sites of such figures as Sitting Bull, John Paul Jones, Frank Lloyd Wright, Daniel Boone, Jefferson Davis, and even Abraham Lincoln, Kammen explores how complicated interactions of regional pride, shifting reputations, and evolving burial practices led to public and often emotional battles over the final resting places of famous figures. Grave-robbing, skull-fondling, cases of mistaken identity, and the financial lures of cemetery tourism all come into play as Kammen delves deeply into this little-known—yet surprisingly persistent—aspect of American history.

 Simultaneously insightful and interesting, masterly and macabre, Digging Up the Dead reminds us that the stories of American history don’t always end when the key players pass on. Rather, the battle—over reputations, interpretations, and, last but far from least, possession of the remains themselves—is often just beginning.

 

About Michael Kammen

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Michael Kammen was born in Rochester in 1936. He took his BA at George Washington University and his PhD at Harvard. He is Newton C. Farr Professor of American History and Culture at Cornell University, where he has taught since 1965. A past President of the Organization of American Historians, he is the author or editor of numerous works and has lectured throughout the world. His People of Paradox was a Pulitzer Prize winner.
 
Published May 15, 2010 by University of Chicago Press. 272 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Digging Up the Dead

Dallas News

Once the body was buried in Springfield, Ill., grave robbers tried to steal it for ransom.

May 30 2010 | Read Full Review of Digging Up the Dead: A Histor...

Bookmarks Magazine

Grave-robbing, skull-fondling, cases of mistaken identity, and the financial lures of cemetery tourism all come into play as Kammen delves deeply into this little-known—yet surprisingly persistent—aspect of American history. Simultaneously insightful and interesting, masterly and macabre, ...

May 31 2010 | Read Full Review of Digging Up the Dead: A Histor...

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