Historical Society President Pens Book on Cemetery

(Tuesday, October 31, 2006 5:24 AM EST)
Writing about Arlington National Cemetery and those buried there is no small task. But Arlington Historical Society president George Dodge took on the challenge, and has just published his first book, “Arlington National Cemetery,” part of the Images of America series.

Three main threads run through the primarily pictorial book: Arlington Cemetery's history over the 130 years since its opening, connection to military and national events of persons interred there; and descriptions of their personal lives and accomplishments.

More than 260,000 people are buried in the cemetery, so choosing which ones to include in one book was difficult.

“Thousands of stories remain to be told,” said Dodge. “But I tried to cover more of the average soldier - if there is such a thing.”

Although this is his first book, Dodge has written articles about the cemetery since 1987. When he was approached by Arcadia, the publisher of all the books in the Images of America series, he already had the interest and base of knowledge to approach the project confidently.

Dodge's resources for research on the cemetery included the National Archives, the Library of Congress, census records and military service records, as well as his own field work.

“Many of the photos are from the Library of Congress and National Archives,” he said. “But half of the pictures in the book were taken on my cheap Pentax camera!”

Dodge doesn't think the book will bring him fame or fortune, and he doesn't plan on giving up his day job as a lawyer, but he does hope readers will gain “an appreciation for the accomplishments and valor of the men and women buried in Arlington.”

“Arlington National Cemetery” will be available at most local bookstores, the Arlington Cemetery gift shop and the Arlington Historical Museum. Book signings and presentations will be scheduled soon.

George Dodge, president of the Arlington Historical Society, has written a new book chronicling the history of Arlington National Cemetery.

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