The American Way of Death Revisited

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Nov 23, 2011 - Social Science - 320 pages
102 Reviews
"Mitford's funny and unforgiving book is the best memento mori we are likely to get.††It should be updated and reissued each decade for our spiritual health."--The New York Review of Books

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

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Review: The American Way of Death Revisited

User Review  - Erik - Goodreads

Though the subject matter is dry and depressing, I was fascinated with this exposť of the funeral industry. Not a "page turner" by any means, but I was interested from beginning to end. Read full review

Review: The American Way of Death

User Review  - Michaela - Goodreads

As an aspiring funeral director and currently attending mortuary school, this book was a must-read for me since it is the main reason that funeral service is being regulated now. I also feel that in ... Read full review

All 16 reviews »


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The Artifacts
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The Allied Industries
Gods Little MillionDollar Acre
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I4 The Nosy Clergy
The Federal Trade Commission
A Global Village of the Dead
I7 Funerals in England Then and Now
I8 Press and Protest 237
Pay NowDie Poorer 2 56
Directory of NotforProfit Funeral

Shroudland Revisited
IO Cremation III
I1 Fashions in Funerals

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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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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