Over My Dead Body

Unearthing the Hidden History of America’s Cemeteries


A lively tour through the history of U.S. cemeteries that explores how, where, and why we bury our dead


ISBN: 9781419754852 Category:

Greg Melville


A lively tour through the history of US cemeteries that explores how, where, and why we bury our dead 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 also have 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. Locales visited in Over My Dead BodyShawsheen Cemetery – Bedford, MassachusettsThe 1607 Burial Ground – Historic Jamestowne, VirginiaBurial Hill – Plymouth, MassachusettsColonial Jewish Burial Ground – Newport, Rhode IslandMonticello’s African American Graveyard – Charlottesville, VirginiaMount Auburn Cemetery – Cambridge, MassachusettsGreen-Wood Cemetery – Brooklyn, New YorkLaurel Grove Cemetery – Savannah, GeorgiaSleepy Hollow Cemetery – Concord, MassachusettsCentral Park – New York, New YorkGettysburg National Cemetery – Gettysburg, PennsylvaniaArlington National Cemetery – Arlington, VirginiaWoodlawn Cemetery – Bronx, New YorkBoothill Graveyard – Tombhill, ArizonaForest Lawn Memorial-Park – Glenwood, CaliforniaThe Chapel of the Chimes – Oakland, CaliforniaHollywood Forever Cemetery – Los Angeles, CaliforniaNature’s Sanctuary – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Additional information

Weight 464 g
Dimensions 16.1 x 23.6 cm
Publisher name ABRAMS
Publication date 28 February 2023
Number of pages 272
Format Hardback
Dimensions 16.1 x 23.6 cm
Weight 464 g


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Greg Melville has worked as an outdoor journalist and a former editor at Men’s Journal and Hearst magazines. He has strong connections with magazines and newspapers, and his writing has appeared in Outside, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Health, and the Boston Globe Magazine. His work was also listed in The Best American Sportswriting 2017. He is a decorated veteran who served in Afghanistan and is in the Navy Reserve, where he is a public affairs officer with the rank of lieutenant commander. He has taught English and writing at the United States Naval Academy, where he was given the school’s Instructor of the Year Award in 2019, and journalism at St. Michael’s College in Vermont. He lives with his wife and two kids in Delaware.