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From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death Kindle Edition
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A New York Times and Los Angeles Times Bestseller
“Doughty chronicles [death] practices with tenderheartedness, a technician’s fascination, and an unsentimental respect for grief.” —Jill Lepore, The New Yorker
Fascinated by our pervasive fear of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty embarks 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 questions the rituals of the American funeral industry—especially chemical embalming—and suggests that the most effective traditions are those that allow mourners to personally attend to the body of the deceased. Exquisitely illustrated by artist Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity is an adventure into the morbid unknown, a fascinating tour through the unique ways people everywhere confront mortality.
From the Publisher
Praise for Caitlin Doughty's 'From Here to Eternity'
― Libby Copeland, New York Times Book Review
"Doughty chronicles [death] practices with tenderheartedness, a technician’s fascination, and an unsentimental respect for grief."
― Jill Lepore, The New Yorker
"Doughty writes bluntly about open-air cremations, natural burials and body composting, bringing a little more clarity and a little less mystery to the question: 'What happens to us after we die?'"
― NPR (Our Guide to 2017's Great Reads)
"[T]he macabre travelogue is a thoughtful reflection and a smart critique of the American funeral industry, with plenty of gallows humor thrown in."
― Smithsonian (The Ten Best Travel Books of 2017)
"Doughty finds the humanity in others cultures' relationship with death that seems to be lacking in ours."
― Justin Caffier, Vice
"This slim volume, full of captivating, enlightening, and humorous tidbits, is a―dare I say―uplifting exploration of what people the world over do to withstand loss and the bite of impermanence. This is death as viewed by a mortician: profound, unavoidable, natural, and a bit funny."
"This humane book gently provokes you to wonder: what exactly is your ideal funeral?"
― The Times
"From Here To Eternity is fascinating, thought-provoking and – who would have guessed? – sometimes funny. Put it on your bucket list."
― The Mail
"Caitlin Doughty is razor sharp, and writes about death with exceptional clarity and style. From Here to Eternity manages to be both an extremely funny travelogue and a deeply moving book about what death means to us all."
― Dylan Thuras, co-founder of Atlas Obscura
"[Doughty’s] fascinating tour of rituals contains liturgies that readers will surely observe as rare, macabre, unbelievable, ancient, and precious―sometimes simultaneously."
"She is the ideal guide on this journey, curious and respectful...Recommended for fans of the author and those with an interest in anthropology and ritual."
― Library Journal
"A thought-provoking book about the complicated, fascinating world of funerary practices. Unless you and your friends are immortal, this book pertains to you."
― A. J. Jacobs
"In her jocular but reverential tone… Doughty doesn’t offer a simple morbid travelogue; instead, she digs into diverse death experiences with deep veneration and examines ties to socioeconomic, status, female identity, and religion."
― Booklist --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
About the Author
Landis Blair illustrated the prize-winning graphic novel The Hunting Accident and the New York Times bestseller From Here to Eternity, and has published illustrations in the New York Times, Chicago magazine, and Medium. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
- ASIN : B06XGH21J5
- Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (October 3, 2017)
- Publication date : October 3, 2017
- Language : English
- File size : 53623 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 256 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #51,250 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- #9 in Sociology of Death (Kindle Store)
- #18 in Travel Writing
- #82 in Travel (Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the authors
Reviewed in the United States on July 30, 2020
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
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I was first introduced to the singular energy of Caitlin Doughty via her Youtube channel, Ask a Mortician, as I'm sure many others have as well. To say that Caitlin (and by extension The Order of the Good Death) has changed my life would not quite do her work justice. She changed my life by changing my death, and the way I view it.
Long before Caitlin, I knew that embalming/ burial was just not for me. I always thought cremation was my only other option, and so I settled my mind to it. But just as the book sets out to explain (and in my personal experience, accomplishes), the Western views and in fact culture surrounding death is not only limited, but capitalistic and toxic in its roots. Learning from Caitlin's videos, this book, and The Order, I know with certainty what my death plan is (still leaving room for some improvisation, of course). My sister, who is also a fan, has begun contemplating hers, and together we have began the conversation. We are hoping to soon begin (slowly and unthreateningly) opening the doors of communication with our family members.
Getting back to the subject of the book, I can only speak from the perspective of someone already in agreement wanting to learn more. And I was happy for the education. Learning about other cultures and their relationship with Death and the dead, it brings a sliver of light. That light, unfortunately, also makes the flaws of our own death culture, but hopefully the days to come bring change.
The stories and experiences told through Caitlin's perspective are as ever-charming as she, and I can easily picture her in each situation. These are not unbiased experiences, of course, but is a bias towards a peaceful and dignified relationship with Death a bad thing, honestly? As someone who wants a natural burial and a "green" death, I was thrilled to learn about more options fighting for their rightful place in society. I now know of organizations to fight for, and perhaps donate my body to. The talented illustrations were equal parts entertaining and educational.
If you are reaching for this book out of curiosity (morbid or otherwise), then welcome. I hope you learn something new. I hope it makes you think, perhaps rethink. I hope you can feel Caitlin's passion and drive within the words and pages. Perhaps give a look at her channel and/or her website. Happy reading, fellow and future Deathlings!
Top reviews from other countries
And I honestly can't recommend it highly enough.
Reading about the death practices of other countries might not be everybody's cup of tea, but "From Here To Eternity" is written in such a way that you can't help but like it. I read every part of it, including the references, which I don't always do, but I could hardly put this down, I was so fascinated by it.
We have a strange relationship with death, for the main, in England. However, if more people were to read books like this one (I can't say that there is an over-abundance of them because I just don't know) I think there would probably be a shift in how we look at the physical aspect of death and dying as a biological process (because it is, after all, just another biological process), how we treat people when and after they die and actually what we *do* with the dead. After all, these people were once a part of us, as we are of them and they deserve our respect, even after they are gone. Not our fear. Not our desire to make their bodies last for ever by embalming them either.
Did you know that in Japan they have a 95% cremation rate? I learned that from this book. Also, the Diás de los Muertos carnival didn't inspire the one in the Bond film? It was the other way round!
There is a whole wealth of death cultures in the world that we in the main don't even know about (I think this is largely probably to do with the fear of death that so many people in the West have, but we can't avoid it can we?) and reading this book opens our eyes a little.
If you haven't read "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" either, buy them both. Read them on the bounce. Expand your mind a little and let's all become more death positive.
I already know what I would like to happen to my mortal remains after I die - and this doesn't include pumping them full of formaldehyde!
One of the most impressive things about her writing to me is her ability to be serious without losing the light-heartedness or humour. This is a great thing for somebody who may be death anxious as it eases them into reading such morbid topics without sacrificing any facts or her opinions.
I have recommended the previous title to a friend who is death-phobic and he said he found it very comforting to read as it wasn't all doom and gloom
I would recommend to anyone, wether they be into the macbre or even people who are scared to death (see what I did there?) about the subject. I look forward to any future titles!
I love her down to earth and qwirky sence of humor that also shows through in her writing.
I bought this quite late as I find her books hard to get hold of in the UK!
I found this very interesting on how all the cultures have burials. I too would love a sky burial but alas this would never be.
I drove past a 'memorial forest' sign the other day in the UK so there is hope that these ways of burial will someday break through the formaldehyde musty practices