Private Grief, Public Mourning

By (author): John Belshaw, Diane Purvey

‘Private Grief, Public Mourning’ is an historical investigation of mourning sites and practices within the context of the province of British Columbia. The authors are concerned, primarily, with the rise of the roadside death memorial in the late twentieth century. They argue that RDMs are not a marginal, quirky phenomenon but part of a longer and complex story about the meaning of both death and grieving, one more thread in a long tapestry of public exhibitions of grief that serve to announce to the watching world who we are.

” ‘Private Grief, Public Mourning’ is an important contribution to the study of vernacular and popular culture in Britich Columbia. It provides an insightful, sensitive, yet rigorous treatment of a delicate topic. Historians, geographers, and anthropologists of British Columbia will want to have this book on their shelves, and its images, accessible prose, and familiar topic also make it of interest to a broader, non-academic audience.” – The British Columbia Quarterly

“With vivid images of a variety of different shrines and monuments built across BC, this book helps to delve into the human emotion of grief and why taking it in to a public space can provide such comfort to one mourning individual and such discomfort to others.” – Broken Pencil


John Belshaw

John Douglas Belshaw is a writer, consultant, online university professor, and an award-winning historian. He is the author and co-author of several books and articles, including Vancouver Noir: 1930-1960 and Becoming British Columbia: A Population History.


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160 Pages
7.96in * 6.86in * .46in


September 18, 2009



Book Subjects:

SOCIAL SCIENCE / Death & Dying

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