Death: An Anthropological Perspective

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University Press of America, 1977 - Death - 165 pages
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"Death: An Anthropological Perspective" is a unique and exceptional book. I was fortunate to have acquired the text while studying anthropology, but would undoubtedly have benefited from reading this long ago. I am impressed at the myriad of useful material Marco M. Pardi provides in just 165 pages. The book begins with a concise history of early humankind; decades later, this section withstands the test of time. Next, it proceeds to cultural attitudes and ideas about death and dying throughout history.
He adequately presents a number of critical topics such as the bereavement process, and talking to children about death. I have been able to reference the text for written assignments in several courses. While Mr. Pardi's analysis is devoid of personal bias, he is wholly able to manage concepts such as deities and life after death.
While the tone is mostly academic, there are several pieces of remarkable poetry by the author and others. This is a pleasant surprise within the pages of a textbook. However, what I find most noteworthy is the author's heartrending prose masterpiece entitled "Reflections." This deeply personal account progresses over a number of significant life experiences and rites of passage beginning with infancy.
I consider this book valuable far beyond the realm of course-related material. Should interested readers wish to find something he has written in the meantime, a search should lead to Marco M. Pardi's blog at mpardidotcom. There readers will discover the brilliant and artistic mind of an author with perspectives worthy of sharing.
Marco M. Pardi is an eloquent and expressive writer who embodies the best of his craft. While I expected to gain a better understanding of death and dying as I read his book, I did not expect a contemplative experience of this magnitude. As he so astutely states in the preface, "...until an individual is comfortable about his own feelings of life and death, he cannot cope with the feelings of others." These are among the most significant and helpful words I have absorbed to date.
 

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