Sunday, 15 July 2012

Necropolis: London and Its Dead


Non-fiction book by Catharine Arnold

This was an amazing book. It was written in an interesting way, not dry like some other historical books. It was filled with wry humour at the strange ways of humanity, but also sympathy and pathos. It was fascinating to see how burial customs and the beliefs that surrounded them changed over time. The book reaches from Pagan era to the modern day, although a large portion revolves around the Victorian era 'the people who invented death.'

It was wonderful to learn about the changing attitudes to cremation, the creation of cemeteries as beautiful gardens, and luminaries like Isabella Holmes who turned neglected funeral plots in space-starved London into playgrounds for poor children. The book was macabre, humourous, and sad, and I enjoyed reading it very much. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the history of London, or the ways we mourn and the history behind them.

'6 stars out of 5'. (A book that goes beyond mere enjoyment.)

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