"New Hampshire Book of the Dead" by Roxie Zwicker

Find out why graveyards are much more than burial spots

Most of us pass by a graveyard without much thought — except maybe to get by it quickly. But Roxie Zwicker invites us to not only stop, but linger there.

"I have always found cemeteries to be fascinating," she says. And so will you after reading her book, "New Hampshire Book of the Dead" [The History Press, $16.99]. 

Zwicker — well known in the state for her Seacoast haunted history tours — walks the reader through graveyards around the state and brings back to life the stories that abound in them.

Some are familiar — the Willey family, buried in a mountain slide in 1826; the prominent Lucy Hale, once engaged to assassin John Wilkes Booth; and Franklin Pierce, the 14th US President, buried with his doomed family.                     

But the book is rich with lesser-known tales as well — Nancy Barton, who "died in a snowstorm in pursuit of her faithless lover" and George E. Hodge, who was killed "by a load of gravel passing over his body." Such epitaphs beg a ton of questions and Zwicker, well-versed in the history of hallowed ground, answers them.

Yes, there are tales of ghostly wanderings (great for Halloween), but the book also explores how graveyards chronicle — with tombstone carvings and epitaphs — changing societal conditions through the centuries. Interesting stuff. Worth reading — and not just in October.

Categories: Book Reviews, Halloween and Haunted NH