Book Review – On Hallowed Ground

In On Hollowed Ground, Robert M. Poole tells the spell-binding history of the Arlington National Cemetery with detail and sobriety that is fitting for the final resting place of many heroes of our nation.  He begins at the outset of the Civil War, chronicling how Arlington was taken from the family of Robert E. Lee (this error was later righted) and made into a burial ground for soldiers.  Poole takes us on a journey through each successive war of the United States, telling how Arlington evolved with each conflict into the “hallowed ground” it is today.

On Hallowed Ground tells not only the history of the land itself, but also the history of many of the monuments and traditions of the cemetery.  From the 1,200-pound gun marking an artillery officer’s grave to the Tombs of the Unknown Soldiers to the Eternal Flame, each story is told with reverence and great detail.  Especially moving were the narratives of each Unknown Soldier’s journey to his final resting place.  With each story, it is the lives of the people involved that make this book so captivating.  The interviews with members of the Old Guard hearing them tell of the honor of being a part of Arlington’s on-going history are stirring.

Poole has taken what could have been a dry retelling of a graveyard’s history, and has written instead an intimate account of a cherished resting place for many men and women. This book is a must read, especially for students of American history.

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One Response

  1. […] pick a favorite.  Robert M. Poole’s narrative of the history of Arlington National Cemetery in On Hallowed Ground is, in a word, excellent.  Poole has taken what could have been a dry retelling of a graveyard’s […]

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