On Hallowed Ground
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On Hallowed Ground

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  633 ratings  ·  118 reviews
"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...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published November 1st 2009 by Walker Books Ltd (first published 2009)
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I just loved this book! Arlington has always been a place of honor and respect for our military, and I was just thrilled to read this riveting account of such an amazing piece of America's history. The author made sure to include such fascinating nuggets of information about some of the people buried there, how the land was acquired, the story behind all the ceremony that goes into a military funeral, and so much more. He spent a lot of time in the second half of the book on President Kennedy's...more
Patrick Belair
I think this book will be placed on my all time favorite list.It is a very well researched book. So many facts that I didn't know about and many that I did.The stories about the process about choosing the unknowns to the funeral of JFK.If your interested in American history you should read this book .You will not be disappointed.
This is really an excellent read. I thought it was a liitle slow at first but then I couldn't stop reading once I got into it. More than anything I can't believe how much I don't know about American History. THe stories are so fascinating and interesting. I haven't vistited Arlington but now can't wait to.
Bo Trapnell
Great read on the history of Arlington, it's traditions and the figures honorably buried therein.
Linda Appelbaum
This interesting, well-researched book tells the story of how Arlington National Cemetery came to be, beginning with the fascinating story of Robert E Lee and his wife Mary Custiss Lee who was a grand daughter of Martha Washington. When Lee left the Union to stay loyal to Virginia, his home and grounds (and slaves) were taken over by the Union Army. Later, in a move to keep the Lees from ever returning, Union soldiers were buried very close to the house. Eventually the Lees lost the home because...more
This is a fascinating history on a lot of levels, much more so than I expected – the use of the Arlington estate as a cemetery began during America’s devastating Civil War, and has remained an evolving presence right through to the present day, acting as a layered stratum of historic significance. Poole’s book, accordingly, is a guide to US military history, US political history, the geography and architecture of the state, and Washington DC, as well as being a moving tribute to the soldiers who...more
Stephen Escalera
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 w...more
This was a Kindle book my mother loaned me (under the new features - COOL, but that means I only had two weeks before the loan ended on the book), and she had spoken to me for a few weeks about it.

This book is a history of how Arlington came to be America's National Cemetery. What I found particularly interesting was that it had belong the the family of Robert E. Lee - his wife's property and has an amazing history. The mansion was originally intended to be living memorial to George Washington,...more
I've been to Arlington twice. However, I learned more, and in a more interesting way from this book. The book shares small personal stories about men whom eventually were buried at Arlington. It starts with the Civil War and the difficult decision General Lee made joining the Rebel forces. It back tracks to include a few Revolutionary war vets and continues to today. It includes rituals in the burials and how they started. It includes the story of the Taps and how it came to be. It also shares t...more
I first became aware of Arlington National Cemetery after President Kennedy was assassinated. Like so much of the country during those dark days, I watched the funeral on television. Growing up during the sixties, Arlington was ever-present, as many of the young soldiers who died in Viet Nam were buried there. Yet it wasn’t until a few years ago that I became aware that the site had originally been the plantation belonging to Robert E. Lee, the general who led the Confederate forces during the C...more
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This is the book by nonfiction book club read for November. I read about half of the book. It was interesting to learn how Arlington came to be the national cemetery. I had no idea that it began as Robert E. Lee's wife's family plantation. Once I trudged through enough of the book to understand how the cemetery developed and burial traditions developed from the Civil War to WWI, I found it tedious. I am not sorry I read the first half, but I am also not sorry I decided to more on to something m...more
A very well written history of the Arlington National Cemetery. It starts with the Lee family living there and goes all the way to September 11th. There's enough detail to paint a beautiful picture without being so bogged down in history as to become the type of documentary I fall asleep during. It was especially poignant to read around Memorial Day. I want to visit again and view some of the places/graves that I can now see differently in the context of history.
Susan Olesen
I enjoyed this far more than expected. It was never dull. Filled with fascinating little facts (more people died in the 9/11 Pentagon crash in one day than any conflict since Iwo Jima). Basically, The Civil War so horrified people, with the massive casualites that rotted where tehy were and could not be identified, that it started the whole push of recovering and ID'ing our War dead. Dog tags started in WWI. Arlington is the former estate of Robert E. Lee, who was a US General before he resigned...more
Debbie Bicker
Arlington, the final home for our heroes

Arlington, the final home for our heroes

I choose the 5 stars because this book taught me so much about Arlington. I have been there before and wish I had read this and was able to pay my respect better. Arlington is a hollow place. Never knew there was so much history connected to the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier. I want to go back with my grandchildren so that I can tell them about the heroes that are buried there.
If you are a history buff this is the boo...more
Nov 06, 2009 Gloria rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in war, American history and who is a mother
Recommended to Gloria by: Goodreads First Read giveaway
Note: I won this in the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.

This history of the Arlington National Cemetery kept me thoroughly completely engaged throughout. An chronological accounting of our nation's cemetery through individual stories of the people who were buried there, it made an great companion to the more thematically structured and excellent Civil War history by Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering, which I had previously completed.

Poole's account details the complex political and bu...more
In the spirit of disclosure, I started to write this review as I read the book. Thinking the subject matter would end with the civil war. Anyone who has read my reviews will know that Lincoln was not one of my favorite POTUS'. I also do not agree with the premise that the "Civil War" was fought to free the slaves. I also dont like the attitude the North takes/took as if they were somehow anti-racist because some of the were anti-slave. With that being said. Man was I wrong about this book.

Shellys♥ Journal
This is the story of Arlington - once a plantation belonging to Robert E. Lee and his wife (the great granddaughter of Martha Washington) and literally stolen by the US government at the onset of the Civil War. As the country struggled with the war dead, one man had a vision to plan a cemetery for the Lee property, and by wars end, the Lees had (illegally) lost claim to it. This book talks about the struggles of burying the war dead post Civil War, the vision to turn Arlington into a memorial, a...more
There's something tremendously moving about military cemeteries. I can't honestly say Arlington is the most moving - I think for me that honour goes to Tyne Cot or the Ramparts Cemetery in Ypres - but it comes close. It's the simplicity, I think, the equality of the resting place for those to whom rank meant so much. Generals and privates lie next to one another beneath the same simple white stone.

However, it wasn't always that way at Arlington. In its early days officers could chose their own m...more
A fabulous piece of history relating to the Civil War, the development of Arlington National Cemetery and the stories surrounding this time period!

Some keys dates and pieces of information:

May 24, 1861 - Some 14,000 Federal troops cross the river to Virginia, taking control of Alexandria, bridge crossings, and the Lees' Arlington estate.

July 17, 1862 - War deaths mount at an unexpected rate, leaving the government poorly prepared to bury its fighting men. Congress crates a national cemetery syst...more
Keith McGowan
The author traces the transformation of the plantation of Confederate general Robert E Lee to Arlington Cemetery, an ironic twist of history as Union dead were buried to force the Lees to abandon their home after the Civil War. Highlights the efforts of the first superintendent to position grave sites as close to the family mansion as possible as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and John Kennedy's grave.
Loved the detail of how exact the entire burial ceremony is described. I cried as they talked about taps and how polished the soldiers all are to show respect.
Pages that stood out to me:
p. 26 Dan Butterfield fathered the bugle tune we know as taps
p. 151 Frenchman saying: The whole of France bows down with me before your coffin. French family piously preserve your memory.
p. 149-159 Touching description of process of choosing the unknown soldier. White roses, a voice seemed to say "this is a pal o...more
This book was a great read if you have any interest in Arlington National Cemetery. From the story of Arlington Mansion to the first burials to President Kennedy's funeral to the story of the unknown soldiers and finally the story of 9/11. I really enjoyed it and would highly recommend it.
Pierre Lauzon
Although I had heard of or read about a few of the stories in the book, the book did present a comprehensive overview of Arlington National Cemetery from its beginning as high ground above the Capital that was captured by the Union Army at the start of the Civil War to the time of burial of 9/11 military victims, most of whom perished when a terrorist commandeered jet slammed into the Pentagon. The burial site chosen is in sight of the Pentagon at Arlington.

The history also presents a microcosm...more
Dewayne Todd
Very well written and engaging. I read this in just a few days and was never bored. The anecdotes are great and the history was amazing. I finished thinking.... This could have had another couple of hundred pages. I'm bringing this on my next visit to Arlington (next month).
Poole's book provides a good (if basic) introduction to the history of Arlington and how each war from the Civil War on impacted the site. I'd hoped for a more sustained focus on Arlington itself. Instead, the book really follows wars and ties them back into Arlington.

The book is at its strongest in the chapters on the Unknown Soldier. The evolution of this practice-- and the politicization of it during the 1980s-- were fascinating to read about. This is also the section where I felt Poole focus...more
This is one of those nonfiction that reads like fiction. I thought it was very well researched. I especially liked the way the author tied in little random bits of information. I want to visit Arlington again now that I've read this.
Jim Laferriere
Good read

Interesting throughout. getting the details behind Arlington was enlightening. I enjoy hearing the stories behind the stories. This book makes me want to read more about this amazing place and plan a visit.
Wendy Hill
Mar 07, 2011 Wendy Hill rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: U.S. history buffs
Very interesting so far. Learning a lot about Robert E. Lee--I didn't know the Arlington Plantation belonged to him until the Civil War broke out and the Union took it over.

I just finished the book this evening and thoroughly enjoyed reading it from cover to cover. I learned a lot about the history and burial rituals at Arlington, where some of the nation's greatest heroes rest. Poole started with the Civil War and briefly touched on each subsequent war, including present-day Iraq and Afghanist...more
A great book that tells about the history of Arlington National Cemetery and the events that surround its many burials. After reading this book I want to go back to Arlington and visit it again.

Robert M. Poole does a wonderful job in sharing the many stories that shaped Arlington into the cemetery we know today. Poole tells about everything from the start of the cemetery with the Civil War to the latest burials from 9/11 and the ensuing war. On Halowed Ground beautifully shares behind the scenes...more
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