From Here to Eternity
Traveling the World to Find the Good DeathBook - 2017
The best-selling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes expands our sense of what it means to treat the dead with "dignity."
Fascinated by our pervasive fear of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for the dead. From Here to Eternity is an immersive global journey that introduces compelling, powerful rituals almost entirely unknown in America.
In rural Indonesia, she watches a man clean and dress his grandfather's mummified body, which has resided in the family home for two years. In La Paz, she meets Bolivian natitas (cigarette-smoking, wish-granting human skulls), and in Tokyo she encounters the Japanese kotsuage ceremony, in which relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved-ones' bones from cremation ashes.
With boundless curiosity and gallows humor, Doughty vividly describes decomposed bodies and investigates the world's funerary history. She introduces deathcare innovators researching body composting and green burial, and examines how varied traditions, from Mexico's Días de los Muertos to Zoroastrian sky burial help us see our own death customs in a new light.
Doughty contends that the American funeral industry sells a particular--and, upon close inspection, peculiar --set of "respectful" rites: bodies are whisked to a mortuary, pumped full of chemicals, and entombed in concrete. She argues that our expensive, impersonal system fosters a corrosive fear of death that hinders our ability to cope and mourn. By comparing customs, she demonstrates that mourners everywhere respond best when they help care for the deceased, and have space to participate in the process.
Exquisitely illustrated by artist Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity is an adventure into the morbid unknown, a story about the many fascinating ways people everywhere have confronted the very human challenge of mortality.
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From Library Staff
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... Read More »
LPL_KimberlyL Sep 27, 2018
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.
LPL_MargoM Oct 11, 2017
Caitlin Doughty's follow up to her memoir, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, is everything I want out of a nonfiction book about death and death culture. She treats the subject with a combination of respect and openness that the American public sorely needs. For fans of the "death culture book" ... Read More »
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Death is scary, but it doesn't always have to be, and Caitlin Doughty is here to teach us exactly that. Take a journey with Caitlin as she travels to places all around the world to witness their death rituals. You'll learn a lot, chuckle, and maybe you'll find that you're a little less worried about death after reading this wonderfully macabre book.
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