About the Book
“This engaging history of Arlington National Cemetery, America’s most hallowed military burial ground and home to over 300,000 soldiers, officers and statesmen, is also the story of America’s maturation through death and war.” — The Economist
Created at the end of the nation’s bloodiest conflict, Arlington National Cemetery has become a part of the landscape fixed in the national imagination as firmly as the White House or the Capitol building. The mansion at Arlington’s heart, and the rolling hills around it, had been the family plantation of Robert E. Lee before he joined the Confederacy; strategic to the defense of Washington, Arlington became a Union encampment, a haven for freedmen, and a pauper’s cemetery for soldiers dying in the war. Edwin M. Stanton, secretary of war, made it the central feature of a new national cemetery system in 1864. With each new war and the passage of time, new chapters–and new layers of meaning–were added to Arlington, which would become our nation’s most honored resting place.