Memorial Day has its origins in the end of the U.S Civil War. There are many ways to read about the civil war, two very recent titles look at how the war shaped American ideas of death. In This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War Drew Faust contends that the massive loss of life had a fundamental effect on political, intellectual and spiritual thought in America. On the other hand, Mark Schantz postulates in Awaiting the Heavenly Country: The Civil War and America’s Culture of Death that Americans already had a fairly well developed view of death which helped them face the costs of war. Two new books, two different points of view; you’ll find them both at the library.