Cremation in America

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Prometheus Books, Oct 5, 2010 - Social Science - 278 pages
Congratulations to Mr Rosen for writing a fascinating and most interesting history of cremation in the USA. He raises many issues that are relevant today and the need to regulate and monitor the industry. The Cremation Society of Great Britain, founded by Sir Henry Thompson and his colleagues, paved the way forward in the UK for cremation practises. I recommend strongly that United States legislatures do take notice and act upon the recommendations made in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.-The Earl Grey, President, The Cremation Society of Great BritainVery interesting. I learned things I didn't know about the conflict some Catholics have with cremation and gained a better understanding of the religious objections which arise in Judaism. I also enjoyed learning about the personalities of some of the early advocates of cremation.... Very readable and entertaining. Until people are able to think and talk about end-of-life issues, they will never be able to plan ahead and help their families make appropriate arrangements.-Carolyn Hayek, Former Executive Director of People's Memorial AssociationLike Service's famous epic poem, Rosen's popular history is bound to excite new interest in the practice of cremation. Everything you ever wanted to know about the subject of cremation and more.-Dr. Martin Greenberg, Professor of Criminal Justice, Point Park College, Pittsburgh, PAIn this captivating review of the history, the practice, and the industry of cremation in America, award-winning former New York Times columnist Fred Rosen provides an authoritative source of information and many revealing facts about an increasingly common, yet still controversial, alternative to burial.Rosen gives an entertaining first person account of his inquiry into the practice of cremation and its roots. He describes the early ancient custom of cremation by funeral pyre and then explores why the rising Church banned the practice as a sacrilege. He then traces the underpinnings of the modern cremation movement in the late 19th century among a colorful group of intellectuals and physicians. This 19th century group endorsed this then illegal practice as a means to improve public health-as a way to prevent seepage of burial grounds from polluting ground water and spreading disease.Rosen goes on to examine, in today's world, people's feelings about death and religion as well as their sensitivities to cremation. Given certain abuses, he believes that this industry needs to be regulated. However, he finds much in favor of cremation when firsthand comparing its costs vs. the excesses and extravagances of the burial funeral industry.In an age when over 25 percent of the population is turning to cremation as a preferred funeral arrangement, this book offers much timely, useful, and engrossing information.

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Cremation in America

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If, as the saying goes, "nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes," it is equally certain that after death, human remains must be disposed of, if not by burial then by cremation ... Read full review


Icon of Cremation
Chapter ElevenThe Dead Wives Club
Chapter TwelveTriState Revisited
Chapter ThirteenTed Williams
Appendix BCelebrities Whose Ashes Were Scattered on Water
Appendix CForms Needed for Arranging a Cremation
Appendix DCremation Statistics
About the Author

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About the author (2010)

Fred Rosen (Woodstock, NY) is an award-winning former columnist for the New York Times and the author of thirteen books including Lobster Boy. He currently is an adjunct associate professor of communications at the New York Institute of Technology.

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