Review: Where Are They Buried by Tod Benoit

I just finished reading Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy by Tod Benoit on the way home tonight.

As is my custom when I review ebooks, I give the Kindle Buy Link because I read most books on my Kindle. However, I'm certain every book I review is available at most ebook sellers so look for them on the platforms that match your ebook reading device. (Want your own Kindle? Click here.)

Visiting Cemeteries

The enormously-long title perfectly describes this entertaining nonfiction book. Some may think the book is a bit morbid, but I found it endlessly fascinating. Maybe that's because my mother was a genealogist who taught me that cemeteries were pretty interesting places.

You see, I grew up in Louisiana where above-ground tombs were rather commonplace. It's the high water table that makes in-ground burial not an option in a lot of towns. So as a child, I tromped through cemeteries while my mother wrote down dates and read epitaphs aloud. I learned to appreciate tomb art and architecture which, for wealthier "residents" had been commissioned from the most important architects and artists of the particular generation.

Yet, the poorest "residents" had grave ornamentation that touches the heart. I remember marbles embedded in a century-old plain square of what looked like baked clay tile that marked the grave of a child.

It may sound macabre, but I've visited cemeteries in lots of cities and small towns -- and in countries to which I've traveled. Because of my early exposure to the history inherent in the cemeteries where my ancestors are housed, I never considered a burial ground as spooky or creepy or even depressing. In fact, there's a certain peaceful quietude to be found in a cemetery.

Fascinating Book

When I saw Tod Benoit's book, I knew I had to read it if only to satisfy my curiosity about whether Jim Morrison was really in his grave in Paris. Benoit gives the myth of Morrison according to conspiracy theorists. Whether or not he's in the grave in Paris in the Pere-Lachaise Cemetery is up for debate. Regardless, the grave draws a million visitors a year, and, I understand, most Parisians consider it bothersome. (I'd have gone if I'd had time when I was in Paris.)

From Aaliyah to Warren Zevon, from Buddy Holly to Kurt Cobain, from rappers to Elvis, from Lombardi and Tom Landry to Walter Payton, Lou Gehrig, and Shoeless Joe Jackson, from Heath Ledger to Marilyn Monroe, from Truman Capote to Norman Mailer, this book covers all who were significant in their respective fields of endeavor.

The book gives a short entertaining biography of the person's life, tells how they died, sometimes gives the epitaph, and tells where they're buried, with directions on how to get to the grave site. Although the names in each category aren't listed under the chapter headings, there is a clickable Index in alphabetical order.

Chapter Headings

Gen-X Standouts
Baby Boomer Icons
Senior Memories
Sports Heroes
Television & Film Personalities
Original Women
Greats of Literature, Philosophy, & the Arts
Heroes of Rock & Blues Music
Popular Music Icons
Famous Personalities & Infamous Newsmakers
Notable Figures from History
Appendix: How to Find Where Someone Is Buried

Takeaway Truth

Like the epitaph on the tomb of Mel Blanc, the man of 1,000 voices, says: "That's all, Folks!"

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