My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Dennis Evanosky is a docent at Mountain View Cemetery. I’ve taken one of his tours and heard him speak passionately about the work he’s done researching and caring for the Grand Army of the Republic plot in the cemetery. He’s extremely committed to his subject.
This book, unfortunately, skims along the depth of his knowledge. Almost every section could be longer. Each of the local personages he mentions rates a page of his or her own, rather than the paragraph they receive. Worse, the chief disappointment is that photos are not well reproduced. They tend to be muddy and gray, without much artistry or contrast. This beautiful place deserves better.
That said, I like the way Evanosky combined a portrait of the person, a photo of the grave monument, and other historical material, whether a photo of the person’s home or business or perhaps an advertisement. Reading this book, I get a sense of the city Oakland once was.
I also like the section toward the back where Evanosky uses the monuments in Mountain View to illustrate mortuary symbolism. That’s really nicely done.
I waver between 3 stars and 4 for this book. I learned a fair amount, but I wished for more. In fact, I wish that Mountain View Cemetery had a lovely full-color guide like Cypress Lawn: Guardian of California’s Heritage.
The Mountain View Cemetery book isn’t listed on Amazon, but you can order a copy direct from the author here.
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