The American Way of Death Revisited

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Nov 23, 2011 - Social Science - 320 pages
7 Reviews
Only the scathing wit and searching intelligence of Jessica Mitford could turn an exposť of the American funeral industry into a book that is at once deadly serious and side-splittingly funny. When first published in 1963, this landmark of investigative journalism became a runaway bestseller and resulted in legislation to protect grieving families from the unscrupulous sales practices of those in "the dismal trade."

Just before her death in 1996, Mitford thoroughly revised and updated her classic study. The American Way of Death Revisited confronts new trends, including the success of the profession's lobbyists in Washington, inflated cremation costs, the telemarketing of pay-in-advance graves, and the effects of monopolies in a death-care industry now dominated by multinational corporations. With its hard-nosed consumer activism and a satiric vision out of Evelyn Waugh's novel The Loved One, The American Way of Death Revisited will not fail to inform, delight, and disturb.

"Brilliant--hilarious. . . . A must-read for anyone planning to throw a funeral in their lifetime."--New York Post

"Witty and penetrating--it speaks the truth."--The Washington Post
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - EnriqueFreeque - LibraryThing

Once upon a time, straight out of college, I almost took a job in funeral sales. I'm glad I steered clear of that lucrative career path. The money would've been great, but not at the expense of all ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - particle_p - LibraryThing

Jessica Mitford's exposť of the American funeral industry (and it IS industrial) is hilarious. She has you holding your sides as you find out how your body is prepared for embalming. No really, you ... Read full review

Contents

Not Selling
3
The Funeral Transaction
20
The Artifacts
34
The Rationale
54
The Allied Industries
70
Shroudland Revisited
101
IO Cremation III
123
I2 Fashions in Funerals
138
I4 The Nosy Clergy
163
I5 The Federal Trade Commission
176
Funerals in England Then and Now
206
I8 Press and Protest
237
I9 Pay NowDie Poorer
256
2O New Hope for the Dead
270
Index
289
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Jessica Mitford--of the notorious Mitford clan--was one of the most celebrated muckraking journalists of our time. Among her books are Daughters and Rebels, The Trial of Dr. Spock, and Poison Penmanship: The Gentle Art of Muckraking. Until her death in 1996, she lived in Oakland, California, with her husband, the labor lawyer Robert Treuhaft.


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