The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery

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Product Details

Harvard University Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 1.2 X 9.2 inches | 1.05 pounds

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About the Author

Micki McElya is Professor of History at the University of Connecticut. She is the author of Clinging to Mammy: The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America and of The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery, which won the John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize and the Sharon Harris Award and was a finalist for the Jefferson Davis Award and the Pulitzer Prize.


Perhaps it is clichรฉ to observe that in the cities of the dead we find meaning for the living. But, as McElya has so gracefully shown, such a clichรฉ is certainly fitting of Arlington.--American Historical Review
An insightful and affecting investigation of how Americans see themselves, and how they memorialize their soldiers, that will be of interest to historians and, particularly, veterans.--Edwin Burgess"Library Journal (starred review)" (08/01/2016)
McElya has crafted a wonderful history of Arlington National Cemetery, detailing the political and emotional background to this high profile burial ground. The evolution over the years of policies that govern who gets buried at Arlington, regardless of race or gender, is a complicated tale that deserves telling. The construction in 1921 of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier serves as a powerful symbol of the universality of military service in support of democratic ideals. McElya's finely wrought prose brings this story to light.-- (02/01/2017)
Highlighting issues of race, gender, sexuality, and nationhood, McElya not only corrects the dominant story of military valor but recuperates the lost landscape and lives of Arlington.--Kirk Savage, University of Pittsburgh
The Politics of Mourning is an elegantly written and fascinating study of the history of Arlington National Cemetery. McElya delves deeply into the complex story of Arlington's evolution from antebellum plantation to hallowed ground and explores how this complicated past continues to shape its current status as 'Our Nation's Most Sacred Shrine.'--Suzanne E. Smith, George Mason University