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Rest in peace : a cultural history of death and the funeral home in twentieth-century America

Author: Gary Laderman
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2003.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"In Rest in Peace, Gary Laderman traces the origins of American funeral rituals, from the evolution of embalming techniques during and after the Civil War and the shift from home funerals to funeral homes at the turn of the century to the increasing subordination of priests, ministers, and other religious figures to the funeral director throughout the twentieth century. In doing so he shows that far from
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Gary Laderman
ISBN: 019513608X 9780195136081
OCLC Number: 228662319
Description: xlii, 245 pages, [8] pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: From house calls to funeral homes : changing relations between the living and the dead --
Explaining the American funeral, 1918-1963 --
Good grief! Jessica Mitford makes the 'New York Times' bestseller list --
Keeping the dead in place : old and new patterns of consumption --
Final frontiers : into the twenty-first century --
Epilogue: 9/11.
Responsibility: Gary Laderman.

Abstract:

"In Rest in Peace, Gary Laderman traces the origins of American funeral rituals, from the evolution of embalming techniques during and after the Civil War and the shift from home funerals to funeral homes at the turn of the century to the increasing subordination of priests, ministers, and other religious figures to the funeral director throughout the twentieth century. In doing so he shows that far from manipulating vulnerable mourners, as Jessica Mitford claimed in her best-selling The American Way of Death (1963), funeral directors are highly respected figures whose services reflect the community's deepest needs and wishes. Indeed, Laderman shows that funeral directors generally give the people what they want when it is time to bury our dead.

He reveals, for example, that the open casket, often criticized as barbaric, provides a deeply meaningful moment for friends and family who must say goodbye to their loved one. But he also shows how the dead often come back to life in the popular imagination to disturb the peace of the living."--Jacket.

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