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A fascinating study on the varying death practices that exist throughout multiple locations in the modern world. Before you run the other way, take a moment to allow yourself to be curious about the bizarreness of human death rituals. Why are we so afraid to discuss death and what happens to the bodies of ourselves and our loved ones when we pass away? Doughty constructs a way to keep the reader pondering how the funeral home industries of the Western world have shaped our ways of viewing the dead in comparison to other parts of the globe that value a unique kinship with the deceased. — Laura Knapp
In a time and age when death seems more commercialized than ever and America more removed from our grief practices than ever, Doughty reminds us there are other ways. For anyone who has a tendency to say Just leave me out in the woods or talks about wishing they could go out Vikings style, Doughty discusses death customs with the ease of any other dinner conversation topic. She sets forth not to make her readers as comfortable with death as she, a mortician, is, but at the very least to convince the death-phobic to examine why they feel the way they feel about death. It is not that death is inherently off putting, but rather that we have been conditioned to approach it in such a sterile, unsentimental manner, and if treating death as a business is something we have been taught, then can we not teach ourselves how to make it into ceremony again? — Hanna Yost
Fascinated by our pervasive fear of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty embarked on a global expedition to discover how other cultures care for the dead. From Zoroastrian sky burials to wish-granting Bolivian skulls, she investigates the world's funerary customs and expands our sense of what it means to treat the dead with dignity.
Her account suggests that the rituals of the American funeral industry--especially chemical embalming--might be the most particular (and peculiar) of all, and that the most effective rituals are those that allow mourners to personally attend to the body of the deceased. Exquisitely illustrated by Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity is an adventure into the morbid unknown, a fascinating tour through the unique ways people everywhere confront mortality.