Smoke Gets in Your Eyes And Other Lessons from the Crematory

Author: Caitlin Doughty
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393245950
Release Date: 2014-09-15
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

“Morbid and illuminating” (Entertainment Weekly)—a young mortician goes behind the scenes of her curious profession. Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty—a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre—took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. She describes how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes) and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practices from different cultures. Her eye-opening, candid, and often hilarious story is like going on a journey with your bravest friend to the cemetery at midnight. She demystifies death, leading us behind the black curtain of her unique profession. And she answers questions you didn’t know you had: Can you catch a disease from a corpse? How many dead bodies can you fit in a Dodge van? What exactly does a flaming skull look like? Honest and heartfelt, self-deprecating and ironic, Caitlin's engaging style makes this otherwise taboo topic both approachable and engrossing. Now a licensed mortician with an alternative funeral practice, Caitlin argues that our fear of dying warps our culture and society, and she calls for better ways of dealing with death (and our dead).

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Author: Caitlin Doughty
Publisher: Canongate Books
ISBN: 9781782111047
Release Date: 2015-04-16
Genre: Social Science

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 'Unforgettable . . . a hilarious, poignant and impassioned plea to revolutionise our attitudes to death' Gavin Francis, Guardian From her first day at Westwind Cremation & Burial, twenty-three-year-old Caitlin Doughty threw herself into her curious new profession. Coming face-to-face with the very thing we go to great lengths to avoid thinking about she started to wonder about the lives of those she cremated and the mourning families they left behind, and found herself confounded by people's erratic reactions to death. Exploring our death rituals - and those of other cultures - she pleads the case for healthier attitudes around death and dying. Full of bizarre encounters, gallows humour and vivid characters (both living and very dead), this illuminating account makes this otherwise terrifying subject inviting and fascinating.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Author:
Publisher:
ISBN: 1444826883
Release Date: 2016
Genre: Large type books

Most people go to great lengths to avoid thinking about death, but when Caitlin Doughty - a young woman with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre - took a job at Westwind Cremation & Burial, her morbid curiosity turned into her life's work. Leading us behind the black curtain of her profession, Caitlin takes us into a world of vivid characters (both living and deceased) and bizarre details (exactly how a flaming skull looks) - and explores the funeral practices of historic and contemporary cultures, calling for better ways of dealing with death and our dead.

From Here to Eternity

Author: Caitlin Doughty
Publisher: Thorndike Press Large Print
ISBN: 1432848534
Release Date: 2018
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

Describes death customs and rituals from around the world, exploring how they compare to the impersonal American system and how mourners respond best when they participate in caring for the deceased.

Ghostland

Author: Colin Dickey
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101980200
Release Date: 2017-10-03
Genre: History

Dickey, piqued by a house hunt in Los Angeles that revealed derelict foreclosures and "zombie houses", embarks on a journey across the continental United States to decode and unpack the American history repressed in our most famous haunted places. With boundless curiosity, Dickey conjures the dead by focusing on questions of the living -- how do we deal with stories about ghosts, and how do we inhabit and move through spaces that have been deemed haunted? Paying attention not only to the true facts behind a ghost story, but also to the ways in which changes are made to those facts and why, Dickey paints a version of American history left out of the textbooks, one of things left undone and crimes left unsolved.

Does This Mean You ll See Me Naked

Author: Robert D. Webster
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.
ISBN: 9781402250835
Release Date: 2011-04-26
Genre: Humor

With curious anecdotes and unbelievable truths, funeral director and embalmer Webster shares empathetic yet entertainingly quirky stories about the funeral business. He answers those embarrassing questions foremost in people's minds and provides readers with behind-the scenes stories of what really goes on after one dies.

Stiff The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Author: Mary Roach
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393069192
Release Date: 2004-05-17
Genre: Science

"One of the funniest and most unusual books of the year....Gross, educational, and unexpectedly sidesplitting."—Entertainment Weekly Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers—some willingly, some unwittingly—have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.

Good Mourning

Author: Elizabeth Meyer
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781476783659
Release Date: 2015-08-25
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

Elizabeth Meyer’s “sweet, touching, and funny” (Booklist) memoir reads as if “Carrie Bradshaw worked in a funeral home a la Six Feet Under” (Publishers Weekly, starred review). Good Mourning offers a behind-the-scenes look at a legendary funeral chapel on New York City’s Upper East Side—mixing big money, society drama, and the universal experience of grieving—told from the unique perspective of a fashionista turned funeral planner. Elizabeth Meyer stumbled upon a career in the midst of planning her own father’s funeral, which she turned into an upbeat party with Rolling Stones music, thousands of dollars worth of her mother’s favorite flowers, and a personalized eulogy. Starting as a receptionist, Meyer quickly found she had a knack for helping people cope with their grief, as well as creating fitting send-offs for some of the city’s most high-powered residents. Meyer has seen it all: two women who found out their deceased husband (yes, singular) was living a double life, a famous corpse with a missing brain, and funerals that cost more than most weddings. By turns illuminating, emotional, and darkly humorous, Good Mourning is a lesson in how the human heart grieves and grows—whether you’re wearing this season’s couture or drug-store flip-flops.

Rest in Pieces

Author: Bess Lovejoy
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781451655018
Release Date: 2013-03-12
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

A “marvelously macabre” (Kirkus Reviews) history of the bizarre afterlives of corpses of the celebrated and notorious dead. For some of the most influential figures in history, death marked the start of a new adventure. The famous deceased have been stolen, burned, sold, pickled, frozen, stuffed, impersonated, and even filed away in a lawyer’s office. Their fingers, teeth, toes, arms, legs, skulls, hearts, lungs, and nether regions have embarked on voyages that crisscross the globe and stretch the imagination. Counterfeiters tried to steal Lincoln’s corpse. Einstein’s brain went on a cross-country road trip. And after Lord Horatio Nelson perished at Trafalgar, his sailors submerged him in brandy—which they drank. From Alexander the Great to Elvis Presley, and from Beethoven to Dorothy Parker, Rest in Pieces connects the lives of the famous dead to the hilarious and horrifying adventures of their corpses, and traces the evolution of cultural attitudes toward death.

Mortuary Confidential

Author: Kenneth McKenzie
Publisher: Kensington Books
ISBN: 9780806531793
Release Date: 2010
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

From rookie mistakes and runaway corpses to screaming dead men and unusual requests, a collection of stories by funeral directors.

My Grandfather s Gallery

Author: Anne Sinclair
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9780374711795
Release Date: 2014-09-16
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

A singular man in the history of modern art, betrayed by Vichy, is the subject of this riveting family memoir On September 20, 1940, one of the most famous European art dealers disembarked in New York, one of hundreds of Jewish refugees fleeing Vichy France. Leaving behind his beloved Paris gallery, Paul Rosenberg had managed to save his family, but his paintings—modern masterpieces by Cézanne, Monet, Sisley, and others—were not so fortunate. As he fled, dozens of works were seized by Nazi forces and the art dealer's own legacy was eradicated. More than half a century later, Anne Sinclair uncovered a box filled with letters. "Curious in spite of myself," she writes, "I plunged into these archives, in search of the story of my family. To find out who my mother's father really was . . . a man hailed as a pioneer in the world of modern art, who then became a pariah in his own country during the Second World War. I was overcome with a desire to fit together the pieces of this French story of art and war." Drawing on her grandfather's intimate correspondence with Picasso, Matisse, Braque, and others, Sinclair takes us on a personal journey through the life of a legendary member of the Parisian art scene in My Grandfather's Gallery. Rosenberg's story is emblematic of millions of Jews, rich and poor, whose lives were indelibly altered by World War II. Sinclair's journey to reclaim her family history paints a picture of modern art on both sides of the Atlantic between the 1920s and 1950s that reframes twentieth-century art history.

Death

Author: Casey Jarman
Publisher: Pulp
ISBN: 9781942186182
Release Date: 2016-08-20
Genre: Social Science

In this illuminating collection of oral-history style interviews, Casey Jarman talks to a funeral industry watchdog about the (often shady) history of the death trade; he hears how songwriter David Bazan lost his faith while trying to hold on to his family; he learns about cartoonist Art Spiegelman using his college LSD trips to explain death to his children; and he gets to know his own grandparents, posthumously. These are stories of loss, rebuilding, wonder, and wild speculation featuring everyone from philosophers to former death row wardens and hospice volunteers. In these moving, enlightening, and often funny conversations, the end is only the beginning.

The Chick and the Dead

Author: Carla Valentine
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9781250120694
Release Date: 2017-06-13
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

Carla Valentine works with the dead. After studying forensics, she assisted pathologists with post-mortems for years before becoming the curator of the world’s most famous pathology museum. When it comes to death, she truly is an expert, and in this book she shares that expertise. Using the most common post-mortem process as the backbone of the narrative, The Chick and the Dead takes the reader through the process of an autopsy while also describing the history and changing cultures of our relationship with the dead. The book is full of vivid insight into what happens to our bodies in the end. Each chapter considers an aspect of an autopsy alongside an aspect of Carla’s own life and work and touches on some of the more controversial aspects of our feelings towards death, including the relationship between sex and death and our attitudes toward human tissue collection. Starting with the first cut, we move from external examination into the body itself, discovering more about the heart, stomach and brain, and into dismembered and reconstructed bodies, at each stage taking a colorful detour into the question of what these things can teach us about the living. Join Carla on the journey from microscope-requesting nine-year-old to pathology educator and death engager at a Victorian museum (a journey made via around 5,000 autopsies) as she tells the story of exactly what it’s like to live a life immersed in death.

The American Way of Death Revisited

Author: Jessica Mitford
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307809391
Release Date: 2011-11-23
Genre: Social Science

Only the scathing wit and searching intelligence of Jessica Mitford could turn an exposé 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

Death to Dust

Author: Kenneth V. Iserson
Publisher: Galen PressLtd
ISBN: 1883620228
Release Date: 2001
Genre: Social Science

In our culture, we rarely speak about death -- partly because it is seen as a sort of pornography, shrouded in indecency and immersed in taboos; and partly because we know so little about it. Yet nearly everyone at some point has questions about what happens after death. At long last, here is a book to answer many of those questions: What physical changes occur to a dead body?