If Republic of Suffering represented a neutral survey of the possibilities of Civil War death studies, Schantz's new Awaiting the Heavenly Country takes some hard and fast positions:
They [soldiers] grasped that death itself might be seen as artistically fascinating and even beautiful. - from the book
"The premise of this very interesting and very satisfying book is that an antebellum American culture of death contributed mightily, even decisively, to the destructive nature of the Civil War." - Reviewer
Not that the survey aspects are neglected:
Schantz addresses topics such as the pervasiveness of death in antebellum America; theological discourse and debate on the nature of heaven and the afterlife; the rural cemetery movement and the inheritance of the Greek revival; death as a major topic in American poetry; African American notions of death, slavery, and citizenship; and a treatment of the art of death--including memorial lithographs, postmortem photography and Rembrandt Peale's major exhibition painting The Court of Death."The art of death"... Was the ACW fed by a death culture? If so, this seems like an overture made by one death culture (19th century) to another (contemporaneous). I doubt ours can understand theirs.