Saturday, September 24, 2011

Austin American-Statesman :: Texas State Cemetery

Texas State Cemetery
By Jason Walker and Will Erwin,
with Helen Thompson
Buy It Now
2 new books serve as memorials, each in its own way

There are a million ways to remember.

We keep photos on walls and in our wallets; we hang on to childhood artwork and filled-up diaries; we honor people and moments with rituals and recipes.

Two books landed on my desk recently that approach this idea in very different yet interrelated ways. One, "Texas State Cemetery,"by Jason Walker and Will Erwin (UT Press, 200 pp., $39.95),is about, as one might guess, the Texas State Cemetery. The other, "Visual Vitriol: The Street Art and Subcultures of the Punk and Hardcore Generation,"by David A. Ensminger(University Press of Mississippi, 334 pp., $35), is about, as you also might guess, punk rock.

Both are coffee-table books, with "Texas State Cemetery" fully embracing its coffee-table-ness — heavy paper, vellum cover, gorgeous photos. Coffee-table books are like CD box sets: a deluxe package to celebrate something significant. They are memorials.

"Texas State Cemetery" is about history as much as gorgeous photos of gravestones; its authors are the director of research and the senior historian at the cemetery, respectively. As Bob Bullock, quoted on the "In Remembrance" page notes, "Kids can come out here and in one day learn more about Texas history than a whole semester in class."

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