Private Grief, Public Mourning is an historical investigation of mourning sites and practices within the context of the province of British Columbia. The authors are concerned, primarily, with the rise of the roadside death memorial in the late twentieth century. They argue that RDMs are not a marginal, quirky phenomenon but part of a longer and complex story about the meaning of both death and grieving, one more thread in a long tapestry of public exhibitions of grief that serve to announce to the watching world who we are.
John Belshaw is a writer, professor, consultant, and an award-winning historian. He is the author of several books, including Becoming British Columbia: A Population History, and articles in subTerrain and The Walrus. His current projects include an OpenText on Canadian history and Vancouver Confidential, a collaborative project involving more than a dozen writers, filmmakers, and artists. He is a second-generation Vancouverite.