Chicago Eternal

Chicago EternalChicago Eternal by Larry Broutman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an amazing book. It’s huge, heavy, stuffed with full-color photographs — and some weird stuff too, including 3D photos complete with cardboard glasses. The book explores 31 cemeteries, some glancingly and others in great depth. It’s definitely Chicago-centric in the gravesites it visits (and even indulges in visits to the author’s relatives), but there is much to attract a visitor or someone with even less familiarity with the Windy City.

I’m not entirely sure what order the cemeteries appear in, but I think it’s geographic. A map would have helped to orient me.

I was, however, very impressed that one of the first gravesites to be featured in the book is the marker in memory of Emmett Louis Till, the 14-year-old from Chicago who was mutilated and murdered because a white woman said he flirted with her. Dinah Washington is buried in the same cemetery, but her story is told in less detail.

The book talks about the one-of-a-kind architecture and artwork that graces Chicago’s cemeteries, as well as exploring the city’s history from trappers to farmers to railroads and stockyards to gangsters to politicians. Famous names appear — from Jesse Owens to Al Capone — but smaller stories sometimes have more emotional weight, like the tale of the creator of Cracker Jack, whose grandson posed for the original image of Jack, or Cale Cramer, who died in a train wreck saving his passengers. It visits the graves of those killed in the St. Valentine’s Massacre and the victim of Leopold and Loeb, but it tells love stories, too.

The lovely landscapes are captured in every season from the first buds of spring to snow blanketing the graves. I can’t say enough about the beautiful statuary captured by Broutman’s camera. Chicago really does have a wealth of artwork, available to anyone who walks in the cemetery gates.

If you are interested in American statuary, history, or cemeteries, this book is a must-have. Amazon is having on sale on it now — and the price is a bargain: https://amzn.to/2uDyDlt

A good companion book would be Matt Hucke’s Graveyard of Chicago, which I reviewed here: https://wordpress.com/post/cemeterytravel.com/1093

About Loren Rhoads

I'm the author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, as well as a space opera trilogy. In addition to blogging at CemeteryTravel.com, I blog about my morbid life at lorenrhoads.com.
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2 Responses to Chicago Eternal

  1. Quite an interesting book – and 3-D photos? I thought about you this week as Husband and I were in Cripple Creek, Colorado for a couple of days. Just outside of town was an old cemetery, Mount Pisgah Cemetery, but we did not have time to visit but did get to drive by the entrance. Cripple Creek was an old mining town so I know the cemetery would be full of history. They give tours in September. I did go online to see what I could find out and see photos.

    Liked by 1 person

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