This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, by Drew Gilpin Faust.
My concept of vacation reading is a little strange, I admit. Exhibit A: This Republic of Suffering, which I picked up at the Colonial Williamsburg visitor’s center last summer. In the post-vacation unpacking chaos, I lost the book. It resurfaced a few weeks ago when I was getting ready for my trip out to the Family History Library in Salt Lake. This book, written by Harvard University’s president, covers the ways in which American society’s attitudes about death, mourning, and burial — among other things — changed as a result of the Civil War’s carnage.