Book Review: "The Disappearing Cemetery", by Tom Cordle

To cut right to the chase, I enjoyed this book! It was a very good read, & would make a great gift, to yourself or someone else, see http://tomcordle.com/ for this purpose!

“The Disappearing Cemetery” is billed as the story of “two thousand years of history from the perspective of a mountaintop in Tennessee…a reflection on war and the never-ending struggle for the high ground”. It’s all of that, and more. This is a book that makes you think, about the personal and how it interacts with the world at large.

Tom blends history with story with poetry, and the writing itself is often poetic, in the very best way. I’m sure someone has already said “all history is fiction”, but perhaps it might be better said that all history is a story told by a single writer. We hear a lot of the conventional points of view, writers of battles and dates and kings and politicians, but not enough of the people on the ground or the stories of small places and their happenings. Tom has taken a section of the Appalachians that he identifies with personally, and made it the focus for his history. It's not conventional history, but not quite an historical novel. Something in between.

There’s a clear sense of continuity, from the origins of the participating groups, whether First Nations or Europeans, through their meetings and development, successes and disappointments, triumph and tragedy. The hard subjects are dealt with honestly, but fairly, as are the ridiculous ones, leaving us with some cautious optimism for the future.

Tom also has a companion CD “Voices from The Disappearing Cemetery”, but I didn’t buy that one. I should, because I’d like to hear more of his lyrics set to music. They read well, and they sound great. (I reviewed "Children of Columbus" and "Soul of Hawk" briefly in an earlier post.)

Thanks, Tom, and thanks to Open Salon, without which venue I’d never have come across Tom’s work.

Tom, one last thing -- I find your work much in the spirit of Howard Zinn's work, and for anyone lucky enough to see "The People Speak" last Sunday on the USAmerican History Channel (not broadcast in Canada yet, but I've seen numerous clips), I'd liken this story to those others of individuals caught up in the whirlpools of history. I hope you find this to be a compliment, Tom, because in my mind it's one of the highest.

(I missed a couple of cross posts earlier, I did finish NaNoWriMo this year!)