How to Read a Graveyard: Journeys in the Company of the Dead by Peter Stanford - review by Harry Mount

Harry Mount

Esprit de Corpse

How to Read a Graveyard: Journeys in the Company of the Dead

By

Bloomsbury 263pp £16.99 order from our bookshop
 

For all the agony of grief, it usually has a time limit. As Peter Stanford reveals in this original, engaging book of the dead, graves are visited for an average of only 15 years before falling into neglect.

Stanford noticed this as he took his dog for walks in the cemetery next to his London home. He noticed, too, how little other people used the graveyard for walks, presumably because of an innate fear of death.

Death really ought to stare us in the face – approximately 1,800 people die in Britain every day, and 140,000 globally. We desperately try to avoid the subject but, in fact, we should be more robust and curious about our inevitable fate – and what happens to our bodies when

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