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The Whole Death Catalog: A Lively Guide to the Bitter End Kindle Edition

30 customer reviews

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Length: 320 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Serial-killer biographer and mystery novelist Schechter’s compendium on the perpetually fascinating subject that is his stock-in-trade is enhanced by such browser-friendly features as recommended reading lists and sidebars recurring (e.g., “Death Fun Fact”—plenty of those) and singular (“Going Out Viking Style”), not to mention waggish, Gorey-esque illustrations. Useful facts and distinctions abound; for instance, the necrophilia section informs readers of the need to distinguish “necrophiliac homicide”—murder committed for the purpose of having sex with the corpse—from “regular necrophilia,” that being the “more socially acceptable” sex with corpses, the case cited being that of “a female embalmer who had sexual intercourse with 20–40 male corpses.” For the practical minded, Schechter mentions a Web site enabling devotees of life planning to preview epigraph options by creating virtual tombstones, and in “Corpse-napping: Ransoming the Dead,” he assesses the chances of success in that grisly enterprise. Do-it-yourself features include “You, Too, Can Be a Mummy (and So Can Fido)” and a how-to guide to “Victorian Postmortem Photography.” An entertaining if occasionally grim popular reference. --Mike Tribby

About the Author

Harold Schechter is a professor of American literature and culture at Queens College, the City University of New York. He is widely celebrated for both fiction and true-crime writing, including The Devil's Gentleman and The Serial Killer Files. He lives in Brooklyn and Mattituck, Long Island, with his wife, the poet Kimiko Hahn.

Product Details

  • File Size: 6318 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Original edition (June 2, 2009)
  • Publication Date: June 2, 2009
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002C1Z44M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,345 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Harold Schechter is an American true crime writer who specializes in serial killers. He attended the State University of New York in Buffalo where his PhD director was Leslie Fiedler. He is professor of American literature and popular culture at Queens College of the City University of New York.Schechter is married to poet Kimiko Hahn. He has two daughters from a previous marriage: the writer Lauren Oliver and professor of philosophy Elizabeth Schechter. His newest book, The Mad Sculptor, (about a sensational triple murder at Beekman Place in New York City in 1937) will be published in February 2014.

Praise for THE MAD SCULPTOR:

"Ambitious, bold, and evocative, Schechter's storytelling grabs the reader in a similar manner to Capote's searing In Cold Blood." --Publishers Weekly
http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-544-11431-9

"Perfect for readers who enjoy the stories of the sensationalistic press of the 1930s and its crass exploitation of the details of horrific murders." - Kirkus
https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/harold-schechter/the-mad-sculptor/



Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. Moore on January 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I knew absolutely nothing about this book when purchased, and now it is my favorite. It is described perfectly on the cover "A lively Guide to the Bitter End." Contains web sites for additional reading on a topic, which I explored several. Also several virtual sites where you can tour famous cemeteries, the top 10 you must see before YOU die is especially entertaining. And who does not need to know the handy guide to putrefaction. The final chapter of the book is "Death Can Be Fun" and includes sections such as deaths in the movies, death's playlist, mortuary museums and finally The Last Word. I could continue about all the photos and definitions included but at some point I must stop, strongly urging a very fun read!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Adrienne E. Sanderson on August 31, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Harold Schechter encompasses all aspects of the death process from forensic science to the burial process. This in-depth look at a subject most of us shy away from is handled respectfully, yet candidly. A real eye-opener.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Nina J. Rohlfs on July 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
Fascinating book that is now making the rounds of family members who were intrigued by my enthusiastic description. This truly does cover the subject of death completely, but is written in a conversational way so that technical details are enjoyable reading. The author includes much trivia and many references for other interesting books, magazines and articles on the subject, that piqued my interest even more, causing me to notate pages for follow-up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G.I Gurdjieff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
I bought this about a year ago right around this time of year. There was a huge seasonal display at the book store and this one was impossible to put down. I guess the title was the hook for me. This book covers so many death related topics that you are bound to find answers to the questions you always wanted to ask and get information about things you never thought about.
For the most part, I'd have to say this is a funny book as well as an interesting one. It does make fun of death and funeral and burial practices, but it also entertains and informs and does it in a practical, factual way.
As we all will approach the final earthly frontier known as death at some point in time, it seems positive that instead of freaking out about an eventuality of life we embrace it in a positive and informed way. The laughs and guffaws are optional but welcomed when reading up on such a heady topic.
The author Harold Schecter often devotes himself to crime writing and this is, like his other books, a well-researched and written book that can be read anytime, but is particularly enjoyable at Halloween.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Emilia on September 13, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
All the facts are presented clearly, wrapped in intelligent humour, poignant art and poetry, in a welcoming conversational style perfect for approaching this sensitive subject. An absolutely fascinating read, brilliantly put together and surprisingly difficult to put down. One of the best books I've read in a long time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By OJAIBUNNYLOVER on October 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
THIS IS JUST A GREAT BOOK. IT'S NOT A READ THROUGH FROM PAGE ONE TO THE END TYPE OF BOOK. THE TABLE OF CONTENTS IS WELL LAID OUT AND YOU CAN PICK AND CHOOSE WHICH SUBJECTS TO READ ABOUT.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By ellen foster on April 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are dying and want to set up your funeral/disposal for your family, this book is for you. It is a guide book than anything else. If this is a topic you've read about at all, there will be nothing you haven't heard in this book. Interesting "last words" "funny grave stones" etc... are few and far between. For the morbid among you, give it a pass. I wish I had. Read Stiff instead.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Susan James on January 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
My favorite xmas present. This book covers it all when it comes to death. It is
perfect for anyone who loves cemeteries (me!) or interested in the death/funeral industry. Written with humor, it's one of those books you just can't put down. All the other reviews say more, but I say a big YES to this book. Lots of fun and interesting as well.
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