Mourning the Presidents

Presidential funerals have become major cultural moments in American history. But were they always this important? Dr. Lindsay Chervinsky explains how different presidential funerals have been over the centuries, starting with George Washington’s death and funeral in 1799. Each funeral she analyzes tells us a great deal about American culture at the time. All together they help us better understand American history. Episode 513.

Buzzkill Bookshelf:

Lindsay M. Chervinsky and Matthew R. Costello (eds), Mourning the Presidents: Loss and Legacy in American Culture

The death of a chief executive, regardless of the circumstances-sudden or expected, still in office or decades later-is always a moment of reckoning and reflection. Mourning the Presidents brings together renowned and emerging scholars to examine how different generations and communities of Americans have eulogized and remembered US presidents since George Washington’s death in 1799. Over twelve individually illuminating chapters, this volume offers a unique approach to understanding American culture and politics by uncovering parallels between different generations of mourners, highlighting distinct experiences, and examining what presidential deaths can tell us about societal fissures at various critical points in the nation’s history, right up to the present moment.

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