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A wonderfully quixotic, charming and surprisingly uplifting travelogue which sees Jack Cooke, author of the much-loved The Treeclimbers Guide, drive around the British Isles in a clapped-out forty-year old hearse in search of famous – and not so famous – tombs, graves and burial sites. Along the way, he launches a daredevil trespass into Highgate Cemetery at night, stumbles A wonderfully quixotic, charming and surprisingly uplifting travelogue which sees Jack Cooke, author of the much-loved The Treeclimbers Guide, drive around the British Isles in a clapped-out forty-year old hearse in search of famous – and not so famous – tombs, graves and burial sites. Along the way, he launches a daredevil trespass into Highgate Cemetery at night, stumbles across the remains of the Welsh Druid who popularised cremation and has time to sit and ponder the imponderables at the graveside of the Lady of Hoy, an 18th century suicide victim whose body was kept in near condition by the bog in which she was buried. A truly unique, beautifully written and wonderfully imagined book.


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A wonderfully quixotic, charming and surprisingly uplifting travelogue which sees Jack Cooke, author of the much-loved The Treeclimbers Guide, drive around the British Isles in a clapped-out forty-year old hearse in search of famous – and not so famous – tombs, graves and burial sites. Along the way, he launches a daredevil trespass into Highgate Cemetery at night, stumbles A wonderfully quixotic, charming and surprisingly uplifting travelogue which sees Jack Cooke, author of the much-loved The Treeclimbers Guide, drive around the British Isles in a clapped-out forty-year old hearse in search of famous – and not so famous – tombs, graves and burial sites. Along the way, he launches a daredevil trespass into Highgate Cemetery at night, stumbles across the remains of the Welsh Druid who popularised cremation and has time to sit and ponder the imponderables at the graveside of the Lady of Hoy, an 18th century suicide victim whose body was kept in near condition by the bog in which she was buried. A truly unique, beautifully written and wonderfully imagined book.

46 review for The End of the Road

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    Hot on the heels of Peter Ross’ A Tomb with a View (which I own but am yet to read) comes another book for taphophiles – The End of the Road by Jack Cooke. This volume's subtitle is "A journey around Britain in search of the dead", which pretty much sums up what it is all about. Cooke's book is, in fact, a travelogue of sorts that sees the author embark on a tour of graveyards and final resting places across the UK, starting from Dunwich, where the historical cemetery beside the abandoned All Sa Hot on the heels of Peter Ross’ A Tomb with a View (which I own but am yet to read) comes another book for taphophiles – The End of the Road by Jack Cooke. This volume's subtitle is "A journey around Britain in search of the dead", which pretty much sums up what it is all about. Cooke's book is, in fact, a travelogue of sorts that sees the author embark on a tour of graveyards and final resting places across the UK, starting from Dunwich, where the historical cemetery beside the abandoned All Saints’ Church is being eroded and gobbled up by the North Sea, and ending, a month and two thousand miles later, in Orkney. Cooke’s means of transport, the equivalent of Charon’s boat, is, quite appropriately, a vintage, second-hand (or maybe third or fourth hand) hearse, itself nearing the “end of the road”. His companions are the ghosts of the dead and a spider hitchhiker whom Jack affectionately names Enfield. Cooke’s quirky trip takes in a variety of burial sites – from more conventional graveyards, churchyards and cemeteries (including London’s Highgate and the Glasgow Necropolis), to prehistoric barrows, the “plague cottages” of Eyam and even a show cave which became a burial chamber and memorial following the tragic death of a speleologist. Cooke is an endearing narrator, combining trivia and historical facts with personal reflection. There is often an element of self-deprecating humour as we watch him scaling cemetery gates, blocking traffic on the highway, or offering lifts to strangers who scurry away in shock. However, what is particularly impressive in what is, ultimately, a book about death, is how uplifting a read it turns out to be. As, at the end of every day, Cooke makes his bed for the night – either in his hearse, or on a grave site – one is struck by a sense of calm and peace, as if the very fact of going to sleep amongst the ghosts is a respectful act of communion with the departed. The End of the Road is my first read for 2021 and it is, admittedly, a strange start to my reading year. But who thought a trip in a hearse would be so enjoyable? https://endsoftheword.blogspot.com/20...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bettina | gothicreads

    What can I say about this book? Being a taphophile (someone who enjoys looking at graves) myself I was very happy when Haprer Collins granted me a copy of Jack Cookes book “The End of the Road” to read before it will be published in February. The book is both a tourist guide for the grave-hunters and a very personal travelog of a man travelling across Britain in search of the dead in a hearse (Is there a more fitting vehicle for this adventure? I think not.) Some months ago I read about another t What can I say about this book? Being a taphophile (someone who enjoys looking at graves) myself I was very happy when Haprer Collins granted me a copy of Jack Cookes book “The End of the Road” to read before it will be published in February. The book is both a tourist guide for the grave-hunters and a very personal travelog of a man travelling across Britain in search of the dead in a hearse (Is there a more fitting vehicle for this adventure? I think not.) Some months ago I read about another trip around Britain, in which the dead played a huge role. But while Edward Parnell describes the landscapes of Britain as places of hauntings and dips into their dark atmosphere, Cooke’s style is full of life and adventure. The graves he is searching for are not necessarily the big ones that everyone knows about. Instead he tells about the weird, the overly stylish or the absolute remote ones that often find themselves in the backyards of houses or wedged between a highway and a place of industry. They are often remains and reminders of times long past. What makes this book work for me is the dry humour and the many encounters with people living nearby (or having a big graveside in their backyard). Jack Cooke didn’t shy away from climbing graveyard fences at night or swimming across remote Scottish lochs to visit a particular grave. I admire his commitment to the cause - I don’t think I would swim in such cold waters and rather wait until I find a boat. The only downside to this funny and wonderful book is the fact that it ended too soon and invoked a deep longing in me to go out, travel to Britain again and to look for some of the gravesites the author describes. I found myself constantly googling the things he describes, making up a sizable wish list that will keep me occupied for a long time. Thank you to Harper Collins and netgalley for giving me a free copy of wonderful book in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sally Boocock

    Being a taphophile myself I really enjoyed this book. Starting in Suffolk where I grew up Jack travels round Britain finding graves with fascinating stories attached to them.Having read Peter Ross's A Tomb wit a view I felt I had more to learn as they both visited different tombs. It's very descriptive and informative both about the countryside and the history of the tombs. An excellent read. Being a taphophile myself I really enjoyed this book. Starting in Suffolk where I grew up Jack travels round Britain finding graves with fascinating stories attached to them.Having read Peter Ross's A Tomb wit a view I felt I had more to learn as they both visited different tombs. It's very descriptive and informative both about the countryside and the history of the tombs. An excellent read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    As lockdown continues, so does my enjoyment of books like 'Then End of the Road', which allows me to travel with author Jack Cooke as he drives across Britain in a beat up hearse, exploring graveyards, cemeteries, memorials and other burial grounds. Cooke's chosen sites of interest range from those I am extremely familiar with to some which I may otherwise have never heard of. Facts were occasionally shaky (no, Jeremy Bentham wasn't actually one of UCL's professors) and there were definitely los As lockdown continues, so does my enjoyment of books like 'Then End of the Road', which allows me to travel with author Jack Cooke as he drives across Britain in a beat up hearse, exploring graveyards, cemeteries, memorials and other burial grounds. Cooke's chosen sites of interest range from those I am extremely familiar with to some which I may otherwise have never heard of. Facts were occasionally shaky (no, Jeremy Bentham wasn't actually one of UCL's professors) and there were definitely lost opportunities to dive more deeply into Britain's complicated history with death and bodies, but on the other hand the breadth of stories and histories was impressive, and each and every one captured the imagination. What I felt was missing from this book was, oddly enough, Cooke himself. While there is a brief sojourn into the personal when he remembers his beloved grandmother, and despite the fact the entire travel-memoir is written from his point of view, I never really felt like I understood why he was on this journey, what connected him to the places or the people he visited. I didn't get a sense of what drove his apparent morbid fascination. A few too many missed opportunities for me to really love this book, but an enjoyable read all the same. An ARC was generously provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alex Wilson

    What a fascinating read! Jack Cooke buys a clapped-out old hearse and, together with a spider he adopts en route, takes it on a tour of some of Britain’s most noteworthy graves and tombs. There are some hilarious stories, some very sad stories and plenty of “I had no idea!” moments - Jack visits my home county of Derbyshire and even my childhood town and recounts stories that even I didn’t know! Also I will never wander through Waterloo Station again without thinking of the coffin conveyor-belt What a fascinating read! Jack Cooke buys a clapped-out old hearse and, together with a spider he adopts en route, takes it on a tour of some of Britain’s most noteworthy graves and tombs. There are some hilarious stories, some very sad stories and plenty of “I had no idea!” moments - Jack visits my home county of Derbyshire and even my childhood town and recounts stories that even I didn’t know! Also I will never wander through Waterloo Station again without thinking of the coffin conveyor-belt that once had its own track to take London’s dead out to the suburbs! The book is incredibly well researched, and in the acknowledgements Jack lists some of the many books he has read in compiling his tour and account. A fantastic read for anyone who has loved spending a while looking through old graveyards and soaking up all the history within. With thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins UK for an advance copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Standa

    A rather unusual road trip but interesting nonetheless It’s not everybody who would plan a road trip based on grave sites and use a hearse as a camper van but that’s what happens here. A trip around the countryside looking for lesser known gravesites with histories and unexpected tales. Like the coffin affixed to roof beams to prevent body snatchers, the giant who wanted anonymity and even an island of the dead. It’s no wonder that his dreams are so vivid! It was an interesting delve into long fo A rather unusual road trip but interesting nonetheless It’s not everybody who would plan a road trip based on grave sites and use a hearse as a camper van but that’s what happens here. A trip around the countryside looking for lesser known gravesites with histories and unexpected tales. Like the coffin affixed to roof beams to prevent body snatchers, the giant who wanted anonymity and even an island of the dead. It’s no wonder that his dreams are so vivid! It was an interesting delve into long forgotten celebrities of a sort but I do wonder if it is a little self-indulgent and how his wife feels as he disappears off into his funeral cortège of one. This book also tells the story of communities, archaeology and natural history and his visit to Scotland sounds like just the tonic to revive ones proximity to life all around.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ángela's Bookcase

    5/5 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 Jack Cooke takes you through some of the most famous and interesting burial sites and tombs in the UK. It was such an interesting read. Jack Cooke has a unique talent for storytelling, I just couldn't stop reading. Each of the places he visits is delightfully described and the stories about those buried are incredibly interesting and detailed. Each of the people and tombs featured in this novel carry such rich history in them and the journey is described in a way that allows you to 5/5 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 Jack Cooke takes you through some of the most famous and interesting burial sites and tombs in the UK. It was such an interesting read. Jack Cooke has a unique talent for storytelling, I just couldn't stop reading. Each of the places he visits is delightfully described and the stories about those buried are incredibly interesting and detailed. Each of the people and tombs featured in this novel carry such rich history in them and the journey is described in a way that allows you to get lost in the book and imagine yourself visiting these places. Whether you like history, or any other genre, you will enjoy this captivating journey through some of Britain's burial sites. Thank you SO much Jack Cooke, Harper Collins and NetGalley for this ARC!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sue Hayward-Ault

    What a fascinating book. Well written with a lovely balance of humour and pathos. My head is full of those 'did you know' facts that are the stuff that pub quizzes are made of. What a fascinating book. Well written with a lovely balance of humour and pathos. My head is full of those 'did you know' facts that are the stuff that pub quizzes are made of.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Korra

    Great story! You can broaden your audience by publishing your story on Novel Star Mobile App.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Clare Kennett

  11. 4 out of 5

    Liz

  12. 4 out of 5

    Karen Carter

  13. 5 out of 5

    Penny

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennie Fisher

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tine De Schryver

  16. 4 out of 5

    Pierke Bosschieter

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lucia

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mark Ward

  19. 4 out of 5

    Simon Gibson

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jo Calvey

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Louise

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hobofeet

  24. 5 out of 5

    Isam

  25. 4 out of 5

    MarthaBookDragon

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michele Brooker

  27. 4 out of 5

    Connie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten is tired

  29. 4 out of 5

    WeekendBookClub

  30. 4 out of 5

    Becky

  31. 5 out of 5

    Contrary Reader

  32. 5 out of 5

    Zoe Jackson

  33. 5 out of 5

    Helen (pagesandpeaches)

  34. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  35. 5 out of 5

    Marylynn Lynch-Gomez

  36. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn Khor

  37. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

  38. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

  39. 4 out of 5

    Becky

  40. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

  41. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

  42. 5 out of 5

    Brigitte D'Autremont

  43. 4 out of 5

    Odette Dace

  44. 4 out of 5

    Mirella Hetekivi

  45. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  46. 5 out of 5

    Christine

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