Stories in Stone
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Why read it?
2 authors picked Stories in Stone as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
If you like visiting cemeteries, then this slender, profusely illustrated volume is a necessity. Keister, a professional photographer, covers an impressively wide variety of topics. He outlines key architectural forms and defines the meaning of floral, animal, and religious iconography. Keister goes beyond the standard New England skull-and-crossbones to identify symbols used in various regions and cultures, and discusses Hebrew, Islamic, and Chinese, and Japanese religious icons in addition to Christian motifs. He also includes handy features like an alphabetical list of acronyms of societies, clubs, and organizations to help decipher mysterious abbreviations. A concluding chapter on “Final Impressions” profiles…
Although there are several good dictionaries of gravestone symbols, none are as comprehensive and beautifully illustrated as Stories in Stone. It contains an immense number of photographs — often three to a page — so there is much on which to feast your eyes. Douglas Keister is the leading American photographer of gravestones.
There’s food for thought as well. In the opening section I learned about the significance of tumulus graves and their link to ancient warriors. The Victorian language of flowers is reflected on headstones, as is the 20th-century proliferation of fraternal organizations.
The book’s tall, skinny format…
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