OVER MY DEAD BODY: UNEARTHING THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICAN CEMETERIES
ARRIVES OCTOBER 4, 2022
“If every graveyard is a library of compact life stories, this essential book is the grand, sweeping history of American burials: their humble beginnings, surprising (and often controversial) heyday, and questionable future. Greg Melville comes to the subject firsthand and writes with infectious enthusiasm, deep respect, and a healthy dose of wit. You'll dig it.”
-—MARK ADAMS, New York Times bestselling author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu
“Melville is an ideal guide, carrying a revealing lantern into both beautiful and disturbing corners of the nation’s undervalued graveyards. At the end of a glorious excursion, he leaves you with a deep appreciation of the rich heritage sleeping just under Americans’ feet. Captivating.”
-—DR. LINDSEY FITZHARRIS, bestselling author of The Butchering Art
“Greg Melville has written a wonderful book about a fascinating piece of Americana that has, for too long, needed a disinterment. Over My Dead Body is, at various times, haunting, thoughtful, and laugh-out-loud hilarious, and is so chock-full of informative ‘who knew?’ moments that the pages almost seem to turn themselves.”
-—MONTE BURKE, New York Times bestselling author of Saban and Lords of the Fly
The summer before his senior year in college, Greg Melville worked at the cemetery in his hometown, and thanks to hour upon hour of pushing a mower over the grassy acres, he came to realize what a rich story the place told of his town and its history. Thus was born Melville's lifelong curiosity with how, where, and why we bury and commemorate our dead.
Melville's Over My Dead Body is a lively (pun intended) and wide-ranging history of cemeteries, places that have mirrored the passing eras in history but have also shaped it. Cemeteries have given birth to landscape architecture and famous parks, as well as influenced architectural styles. They've inspired and motivated some of our greatest poets and authors--Emerson, Whitman, Dickinson. They've been used as political tools to shift the country's discourse and as important symbols of the United States' ambition and reach. But they are changing and fading. Embalming and burial is incredibly toxic, and while cremations have just recently surpassed burials in popularity, they're not great for the environment either. Over My Dead Body explores everything--history, sustainability, land use, and more--and what it really means to memorialize.
OTHER BOOKS BY GREG MELVILLE
101 BEST OUTDOOR TOWNS
A unique guide for the millions of American urban dwellers and suburbanites seeking quick getaways to small, breathtaking locales where there are pulse-quickening activities but a slower pace of life.
Grab your gear; pack your bags and beat the developers to 101 of the greatest places left for living, visiting and playing—outdoor towns where you can still eat breakfast at a local diner; play all day in a gorgeous, natural setting; find microbrews and comfort food; and flop yourself into bed at a family-run lodge.
“An entertaining combination of On the Road and An Inconvenient Truth.”
—New York Times Book Review
"Melville has a breezy, unpretentious style as well as the ability to work in the occasional edifying digression-a brief history of wind power, for instance, or a discussion with a professor about cellulosic ethanol-without disrupting the book's brisk, novelistic pace."
Booklist starred review