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From Roman burial rites to the horrors of the plague, from the founding of the great Victorian cemeteries to the development of cremation and the current approach of metropolitan society towards death and bereavement -- including more recent trends to displays of collective grief and the cult of mourning, such as that surrounding the death of Diana, Princess of Wales -- NECROPOLIS: LONDON AND ITS DEAD offers a vivid historical narrative of this great city's attitude to going the way of all flesh. As layer upon layer of London soil reveals burials from pre-historic and medieval times, the city is revealed as one giant grave, filled with the remains of previous eras -- pagan, Roman, medieval, Victorian. This fascinating blend of archaeology, architecture and anecdote includes such phenomena as the rise of the undertaking trade and the pageantry of state funerals; public executions and bodysnatching. Ghoulishly entertaining and full of fascinating nuggets of information, Necropolis leaves no headstone unturned in its exploration of our changing attitudes to the deceased among us. Both anecdotal history and cultural commentary, Necropolis will take its place alongside classics of the city such as Peter Ackroyd's LONDON.
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About the Author

Catharine Arnold read English at Cambridge and holds a further degree in psychology. A journalist, academic and popular historian, Catharine's previous books include the novel "Lost Time", winner of a Betty Trask award, and "Necropolis: London and Its Dead", the first of her projected London trilogy.

Reviews

"Everything you always wanted to know about perishing in London." --"Kirkus Reviews" "Deeply pleasing. . . . Entertainment of the most garish and exquisite kind. . . . A Baedeker of the dead." --"The Times" "Enthusiastic, good-humored and constantly engaging." --"Daily Telegraph" "It may not be the cheeriest of topics, but Arnold writes exquisitely, with a respectful and assured style that makes descriptions of 16th-century plague pits seem vital and relevant, and never dismisses the personal tragedies behind the numbers of dead. And it is strangely comforting, in this city of immigrants and new arrivals, to think of the generations, of so many ancestors lying beneath our train stations, churches and concert halls a we go about our business." -- "Guardian" "Catharine Arnold's lively stiff survey is good on the Black Death and great on the Victorian age." -- "The Scotsman"

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