From the battlefield at Gettysburg to the Oklahoma City block where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building once stood, sites of violence and tragedy have left indelible marks on the American landscape. Some have become places of pilgrimage, where visitors mourn losses, learn lessons from the tragedy, and experience renewal. Others became empty places where nothing remains to commemorate or even to mark the occurrence. In this pioneering book, Kenneth E. Foote explores how and why Americans have memorialized--or not--the sites of tragic and violent events. Drawing on years of travel and reflection, he traces the history of sites spanning three centuries and every region of the United States. Foote deduces that Americans usually react to the scenes of tragedy in one of four ways. Many places undergo public sanctification, such as Memphis' Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated. Some are simply designated with a marker, while others are rectified and returned to normal use. Those that produce shame and revulsion are often obliterated and left empty. These differing reactions to sites of violence offer an important new perspective to the debate over violence in American society.