On Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington National Cemetery

On Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington National Cemetery

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by Robert M. Poole
     
 

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On Hallowed Ground opens with the long-delayed funeral of four servicemen, brought home for final honors at Arlington National Cemetery almost forty years after they disappeared in Vietnam. To understand how this tradition of extraordinary care for our war dead began, Robert Poole traces the founding of Arlington Cemetery on what had been the family plantation…  See more details below

Overview

On Hallowed Ground opens with the long-delayed funeral of four servicemen, brought home for final honors at Arlington National Cemetery almost forty years after they disappeared in Vietnam. To understand how this tradition of extraordinary care for our war dead began, Robert Poole traces the founding of Arlington Cemetery on what had been the family plantation of Robert E. Lee. After resigning his commission in the U.S. Army, Lee left Arlington to command the Army of Northern Virginia. Arlington, strategic to the defense of Washington, D.C., became a U.S. Army headquarters and a cemetery for indigent Civil War soldiers before Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton made it the new national cemetery.
Initially, there was no honor attached to being buried at Arlington; this began to change after the war, as the Union gathered thousands of hastily-buried casualties from nearby battlefields and reinterred them at Arlington, where they received the honors of a grateful nation. But the rites, rituals, and reverence associated with Arlington evolved over the next hundred years, paid through the blood of those who fought in the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Cold War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Iraq and Afghanistan.
Robert Poole paints an intimate, behind-the-scenes picture of the history and day-to-day operations of Arlington National Cemetery.

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Editorial Reviews

Fergus M. Bordewich
The central character in On Hallowed Ground, Robert M. Poole's gracefully written, often deeply affecting history, cannot speak. However, Poole succeeds grandly in giving voice to the more than 600 acres of what virtually all Americans consider sacred soil.
—The Washington Post
From the Publisher

“Gracefully written, often deeply affecting history. like the nation itself, Arlington bears the scars of its history, as Robert Poole eloquently shows.” —Fergus Bordewich, Washington Post.

“Engaging. Robert Poole is an adroit sketcher of historical events, but even more of character.” —The Economist

“Graceful and dignified…perhaps more than any other secular site in America, Arlington casts a religious spell. The effect is not accidental…there is ample evidence of sacramental need in the many Arlington rituals that Mr. Poole relates in such moving detail.” —Wall Street Journal.

“Vivid, compelling, filled with rich and unexpected detail, On Hallowed Ground tells the little-understood story of Arlington National Cemetery and in the process chronicles how we have honored--and sometimes dishonored--those who gambled everything on our behalf. Robert M. Poole is a fine storyteller and this is a great story.” —Geoffrey C. Ward, author of The Civil War and The War: An Intimate History 1941-1945

“Improbably gripping and often deeply moving, On Hallowed Ground chronicles both the evolution of our national cemetery and the profound ways in which treatment of the war dead reflects a nation's soul. Readers interested in political, social or military history from the Civil War on will want to read this book.” —Caroline Alexander, author of The Endurance

“Most Americans, especially most historians, think they know all about Arlington Cemetery. They respect what it represents, and revere the heroes resting there. But only Robert Poole has brought to life all the historic figures, from privates to presidents, who made this national shrine and populate its rolling hills. On Hallowed Ground is a memorable combination of historical research, first-hand reporting and sensitive writing--a definitive work that should last as long as the eternal flame at John Kennedy's grave site.” —Ernest B. Furgurson, author of Freedom Rising: Washington in the Civil War

“In his stirring, evocative style, Robert Poole blends Arlington's untold story with America's own story, as Robert E. Lee's home, a prize of war in a divided nation, evolves--through wars and peace--into America's most hallowed ground.” —Thomas B. Allen, coauthor of The Bonus Army

“Robert M. Poole not only captures the history of a venerable American institution but with it the politics of commemoration and reconciliation. Absolutely first rate.” —Paul Dickson, coauthor of The Bonus Army

“Robert Poole has coupled superb storytelling with meticulous research and produced a gem. On Hallowed Ground is by turns illuminating, informative, and enormously readable. In the future you will never think of Arlington Cemetery withut recalling the tales contained in this marvelous book.” —Robert Timberg, author of The Nightingale's Song and State of Grace: A Memoir of Twilight Time

author of The Civil War and The War: An Intima Geoffrey C. Ward
Vivid, compelling, filled with rich and unexpected detail, On Hallowed Ground tells the little-understood story of Arlington National Cemetery and in the process chronicles how we have honored—and sometimes dishonored—those who gambled everything on our behalf. Robert M. Poole is a fine storyteller and this is a great story.
author of Freedom Rising: Washington in the Ci Ernest B. Furgurson
Most Americans, especially most historians, think they know all about Arlington Cemetery. They respect what it represents, and revere the heroes resting there. But only Robert Poole has brought to life all the historic figures, from privates to presidents, who made this national shrine and populate its rolling hills. On Hallowed Ground is a memorable combination of historical research, first-hand reporting and sensitive writing—a definitive work that should last as long as the eternal flame at John Kennedy's grave site.
author of The Nightingale's Song and State of Gra Robert Timberg
Robert Poole has coupled superb storytelling with meticulous research and produced a gem. On Hallowed Ground is by turns illuminating, informative, and enormously readable. In the future you will never think of Arlington Cemetery withut recalling the tales contained in this marvelous book.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802719782
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
11/11/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
174,126
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Robert M. Poole is former executive editor of National Geographic and author of Explorers House, which was a holiday pick for Barnes & Nobles "Discover Great New Writers" series in 2004. He is a contributing editor at Smithsonian and a contract writer for National Geographic. Poole has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Preservation.
Robert M. Poole is former executive editor of National Geographic and author of Explorers House, which was a holiday pick for Barnes & Nobles "Discover Great New Writers" series in 2004. He is a contributing editor at Smithsonian and a contract writer for National Geographic. Poole has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Preservation.

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On Hallowed Ground 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having been upon the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery several times I am always at awe walking through the gates, but although I have some background knowledge of the area, Mr. Poole shed more light upon many aspects of these hallowed grounds that have just furthered my interest in this national landmark. Two thumbs up. Not a bad chapter in the book.
Tim_C More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book. I bought it this summer after my first visit to Arlington Cemetery. It really captures the majesty and tragedy of the cemetery. The book is a really enjoyable read. It contains a lot of details while at the same time, it doesn't get bogged down with them. It started with the history of the plantation and how it was chosen as the site of the Cemetery. 1 of the greatest ironies in US History and it detailed it great. Would really recommend this book for any history buffs. I would try to time it with a visit to Arlington Cemetery, which is a must-see for any DC visitor.
mryoda More than 1 year ago
Robert M. Poole has written a wonderful book. Reading this book is like taking a walk through Arlington itself. I highly recommend it. The only thing I did not like was the typeface of the book. As Americans, we should know some things about our national cemeteries - both good and bad. These 'gardens of stone' have so many stories to tell and Poole really captures that. Thank You, Mr. Poole.
cmp53 More than 1 year ago
Bought this book as I have been to Arlington Cemetary a number of times but never really knew the history of it. Read it in two days and have passed it on to my kids who are extremely interested in the history as well. Arlington National Cemetary is a big part of US History and everyone will be better off understanding how this Cemetary developed and how it got to where it is today. A great read!
Anonymous 4 months ago
Tremendous book. Went to Arlington was in Spring 2001 - Tomb of the Unknowns was very moving. Definitely need to go back to pay my respects at the post-9/11 memorials.
DelUmp More than 1 year ago
This is a very enjoyable read. I've visited the cemetery and was unaware of it's history. Mr. Poole does an excellent job of providing the fascinating history of this special place in America.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After working there for 5 years it was nice to see a new book written about the history of Arlington National Cemetery. I could not put the book down once I started reading it. I learned a few more things about Arlington. When I was there 35 years ago it was a quite and wonderful place. I helped bury many soldiers and family members there, and it was such an honor to do so. Now it is a big tourist trap. Made me feel sad to watch so many people wondering around this beautiful place. I hope I will be laid to rest there some day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read for anyone planning a trip to Arlington National Cemetery. It is truly hallowed ground and leaves an indelible impression. Knowing the history of the property will make it even more so.
Redyne More than 1 year ago
From the little know fact of Arlington's establishment, it's rituals, and secrets this book leads you thru the establishment of our national military cemetery system.
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