The Undiscovered Country by Carl Watkins

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The publication of The Undiscovered Country: Journeys Among the Dead, an expedition by Carl Watkins across the ill-defined borders of mortality, is timely. It comes, in smoothly curated form, at just the right moment...
-Guardian

Synopsis

We know what happens to the body when we die, but what happens to the soul? The answer may remain a great unknown, but the question has shaped centuries of tradition, folklore and religious belief. In this vivid history of the macabre, Carl Watkins goes in search of the ancient customs, local characters and compelling tales that illuminate how people over the years have come to terms with our ultimate fate. He discovers what a small Norfolk church has to tell us about the apocalypse; why the greatest minds of the seventeenth century were embroiled in debate over the phantom Drummer of Tedworth; and how a nineteenth-century Welsh Druid completely changed the national view of cremation. The result is an enthralling journey into Britain's past, from medieval hauntings on the Yorkshire moors and eccentric memorials on the Cornish coast to seances in Victorian kitchens and gallows tales from a Bristol gaol. Impeccably researched and elegantly told, The Undiscovered Country ventures beyond the veil to bring the dead back to life.
 

About Carl Watkins

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Born and bred in Warwickshire, Carl Watkins read history at Cambridge where he is now a lecturer in medieval history and a fellow of Magdalene College. He writes about belief and has published on the history of ghosts, the afterlife, saints and folklore. His first book, History and the Supernatural in Medieval England, was published by CUP in 2007, and he has written the chapter on religion and belief for a forthcoming Cambridge history of medieval England. He has also appeared on Radio 3's Night Waves, in a number of programmes for Radio 4's series The Long View and also on television documentaries. He lives in Cambridge.
 
Published January 17, 2013 by Bodley Head. 336 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality.
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Critic reviews for The Undiscovered Country
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Iain Sinclair on Jan 12 2013

The publication of The Undiscovered Country: Journeys Among the Dead, an expedition by Carl Watkins across the ill-defined borders of mortality, is timely. It comes, in smoothly curated form, at just the right moment...

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Anthony Sattin on Jan 06 2013

Death, and what follows, is something from which we are increasingly removed. And this, in part, explains the fascination of a book that looks at ideas of where we might go when we shuffle off this mortal coil.

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The Economist

Good
on Jan 05 2013

Mr Watkins has fun. He enjoys the strange little towns his research takes him to, and the odd people he meets.

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