From Here To Eternity: Travelling The World To Find The Good Death by Caitlin DoughtyFrom Here To Eternity: Travelling The World To Find The Good Death by Caitlin Doughty

From Here To Eternity: Travelling The World To Find The Good Death

byCaitlin Doughty

Hardcover | October 3, 2017

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about

Fascinated by our pervasive fear of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for the dead. From Here to Eternity is an immersive global journey that introduces compelling, powerful rituals almost entirely unknown in America.

In rural Indonesia, she watches a man clean and dress his grandfather’s mummified body, which has resided in the family home for two years. In La Paz, she meets Bolivian natitas (cigarette-smoking, wish-granting human skulls), and in Tokyo she encounters the Japanese kotsuage ceremony, in which relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved-ones’ bones from cremation ashes.

With boundless curiosity and gallows humor, Doughty vividly describes decomposed bodies and investigates the world’s funerary history. She introduces deathcare innovators researching body composting and green burial, and examines how varied traditions, from Mexico’s Días de los Muertos to Zoroastrian sky burial help us see our own death customs in a new light.

Doughty contends that the American funeral industry sells a particular—and, upon close inspection, peculiar—set of "respectful" rites: bodies are whisked to a mortuary, pumped full of chemicals, and entombed in concrete. She argues that our expensive, impersonal system fosters a corrosive fear of death that hinders our ability to cope and mourn. By comparing customs, she demonstrates that mourners everywhere respond best when they help care for the deceased, and have space to participate in the process.

Exquisitely illustrated by artist Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity is an adventure into the morbid unknown, a story about the many fascinating ways people everywhere have confronted the very human challenge of mortality.

Mortician Caitlin Doughty—host and creator of Ask a Mortician and the New York Times best-selling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes—founded The Order of the Good Death. She lives in Los Angeles, where she runs her nonprofit funeral home, Undertaking LA.
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Title:From Here To Eternity: Travelling The World To Find The Good DeathFormat:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 8.5 × 5.8 × 0.94 inPublished:October 3, 2017Publisher:WW NortonLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0393249891

ISBN - 13:9780393249897

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love Cailtlin!!! If you don't watch Caitlin's YouTube channel Ask a Mortician then you totally should! Watching her videos and learning a bit about her personality and experience in the death care industry definitely made me feel like a total insider while reading this book. But it is in no way a necessity. Caitlin finds a way to make death...fun? She is quirky and relatable and it translates so well in this book. She really opens your eyes to how little you know about something that happens to us all.
Date published: 2018-04-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Finding the Good Death A very knowledgeable read about how one is prepared for the afterlife. Caitlin Doughty is not only witty, but shares her heartfelt experiences as she travels to distant lands in search of the good death.
Date published: 2018-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Death is something to respect and accept I loved this book because it's real. It's funny, it's sad, it's thought-provoking. Doughty wants us to think about death, not in fear, but with hope and acceptance. It is a part of life, and the natural processes that bring us back to being one with the earth should be considered an honour. This was truly a great book. I have a new outlook!
Date published: 2018-02-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intriguing Look into Taboos Surrounding Death "It is demonstrably wrong to claim that the West has death rituals that are superior to those of the rest of the world. What's more, due to the corporatization and commercialization of death are, we have fallen behind the rest of the world when it comes to proximity, intimacy, and ritual around death." From Here to Eternity is an excellent read. Despite what (many would consider) upsetting or unsettling subject matter, Caitlin Doughty writes with humour, and respect that allows for great introspection. I was touched by the descriptions of deathcare in other parts of the world - Indonesia, Mexico, Spain, Bolivia etc - in comparison to the cold, traumatic handling of death and loss in North America. If you ever been involved in funeral preparations in North America, you soon realize how much about a loved one becomes reduced to monetary value. In comparison to the meaningful and intimate treatment of grief and loss in the other cultures that Doughty sheds light on, I feel North America is lacking. This is a quick read. However, there are very realistic depictions of corpses and decay that many would find unsettling. So this book may not be appropriate for every reader. Even so, if you can handle the above, I think it's an important read. From Here to Eternity is a light in an otherwise dark arena of books about death, grieving, and cultural decay. Also, if like me, you've recently lost a loved one; you may find comfort in the variety of ways different cultures live with grief, and that there is no correct way to grieve.
Date published: 2018-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Extremely Interesting This is a wonderful book that is both entertaining to read and educational. The illustrations are tasteful but beautiful and really add to the book. I could not put this down!
Date published: 2017-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Death should not be feared Caitlin Doughty does an incredible job at making death approachable by explaining different death practices throughout history and culture, using her own experience and knowledge to round it all out. Given the gravity of the topic at hand, Doughty creates a lighthearted and open discussion that can even make you laugh at times.
Date published: 2017-12-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Re-thinking Death Despite "uncomfortable" subject matter (i.e., death), this book is witty, engaging, and pensive. This book challenged my perception of death, and left me with a lot to think about.
Date published: 2017-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This book is a real treat! As always, Doughty approaches the various death rituals and beliefs from a culturally-sensitive and respectful angle. With her cheerful and witty personality, Doughty unpacks and normalizes death practices that are unheard of in Western culture. This is an excellent addition to the death-positive movement!
Date published: 2017-12-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! A wonderful read, love it quite interesting
Date published: 2017-10-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Death Ritual World Tour Caitlin Doughty has an interesting and comfortable approach to death and all its associated issues, and this shows greatly in her work both in textual form and in her video series. In this book, she writes of death rituals and practices she has encountered all over the world. Doughty treats these rituals with a healthy mix of respect, human understanding, and humour, providing detailed information and (frequently) funny anecdotes as she meets mummies and debunks myths surrounding death. The illustrations are also very very nice. In short, if you want to read a book that approaches death in a realistic and enjoyable way, this is the book for you. If you want to read a book about ways of death that don't have the typical North American sanitised schedule? This is the book for you. I would definitely recommend this book.
Date published: 2017-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from let's talk about death, baby Caitlin Doughty's work is all about encouraging us to think about and discuss death, so that we can be more fully engaged in life. From Here to Eternity is a readable, thoughtful look at death practices, which can open conversations about our own ideas, feelings and hopes. This would make a great book club pick because there's so much to talk about! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-10-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So Intriguing I binged this book in a day it was such a good read. The stories are amazing and emotional. If you have any interest in learning more about death practices or the death positive movement pick this book up it will change you.
Date published: 2017-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Essential Death Reading Doughty is an honest and brilliant voice. She brings intense intimacy and care to subjects we've been taught to avoid speaking about. The death positivity movement is lucky to have her, and so is the genre of memoir.
Date published: 2017-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful I have read this book over and over and I absolutely love it. I would highly recommend that you pick it up and give it a go.
Date published: 2017-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting book. This book wouldn't be everyone's first pick off the book shelf but if your open to learning what actually goes on in a crematorium. Pick up this book. It's so interesting to learn ! #plumrewards
Date published: 2017-04-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic story and commentary on death! This book is about death but it is written in a gentle and comforting way that draws you in rather than shocks you
Date published: 2017-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such a great look inside. Absolutely loved this book and was able to meet the author and get my book signed. The fascinating history and personal stories will have you hooked.
Date published: 2017-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating While completely fascinated and terrified of all things surrounding death, I found this book to be a fresh take on...dead people. Although not all will, I fully appreciated the humour and found myself laughing out loud. A must read if you are contemplating your final arrangements or, when the time comes, your loved ones.
Date published: 2016-12-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Helped me think about my own life and final arrangements in a new way. This really gave me a lot to think about in regards to the way we handle death. While I don't dislike the idea of a celebration of life after one passes, the typical funeral with viewing is something I try to avoid because I feel it is so... well... unnatural. I feel that with the spirt gone, a mortal coil is doctored up and then people are looking at it and talking to it...it just rings all wrong. They're not here anymore. And the elaborate casket and flowers...I don't really understand it. These sentiments are echoed in her writing. She does a good job and she is witty, funny and well read. That said, the end lost me a bit as she veered into the territory of being lovelorn and planning a suicide she didn't carry out. It felt like filler after what I had read up until that point. Glad I read it though. I'm only half way through life but this solidified that I'd like a green burial when the time comes. Around a tree sounds nice. Without all the manufactured hullabaloo that is so prevalent. I remind myself that the laws of psychics state that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. The body is only the shell of who we are and all the gilded caskets and tchotchkes in the world can't change that.
Date published: 2016-12-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fresh and Informative A whole new approach to the often uncomfortable topic of death.
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gives new life to the topic of death! Caitlin Doughty has written this book so well and skillfully respects the topic of death while similtaniously seeing the humour in it as well. Great read if you want to think about death in more than a traditional north american way.
Date published: 2015-08-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An enjoyable read I really enjoyed this book. Although I am not sure that I am the typical reader as I have had more experience than most working with dead bodies.
Date published: 2014-12-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Woman?s Journey through the Death Industry In this wonderfully sincere and touching memoir, the author recounts her life in the world of dead bodies. She gives details on collecting them, preparing them, embalming/cremating them and disposing of them. Along the way, the reader learns of fascinating and often disturbing death rituals in other cultures both past and present. The author pulls no punches about the appearance of the deceased prior to ?preparing? them for a viewing, pointing out that the relatively serene appearances of ?corpses? that we see on TV dramas are a far cry from reality; she gives plenty of details to support this. Although the main bulk of the book is on the author?s professional life, some space is devoted to her personal life as well as on her evolving philosophical attitudes towards death and dying. The prose is friendly, lively, often humorous and witty and quite captivating; I found this book to be an easy, quick, enjoyable read. This book should appeal the most to those who are curious about how our bodies are dealt with after we pass away (and are not afraid to read about the often gory details).
Date published: 2014-09-26

Editorial Reviews

Doughty is a relentlessly curious and chipper tour guide to the underworld, and the weirder things get, the happier she seems. … [H]er dispatches from the dark side [are] doing us all a kindness—offering a picture of what we’re in for, even if we’d rather not know. — Libby Copeland (New York Times Book Review)Doughty chronicles [death] practices with tenderheartedness, a technician’s fascination, and an unsentimental respect for grief. — Jill Lepore (The New Yorker)Doughty writes bluntly about open-air cremations, natural burials and body composting, bringing a little more clarity and a little less mystery to the question: 'What happens to us after we die?' — NPR (Our Guide to 2017's Great Reads)[T]he macabre travelogue is a thoughtful reflection and a smart critique of the American funeral industry, with plenty of gallows humor thrown in. — Smithsonian (The Ten Best Travel Books of 2017)Doughty finds the humanity in others cultures' relationship with death that seems to be lacking in ours. — Justin Caffier (Vice)This slim volume, full of captivating, enlightening, and humorous tidbits, is a—dare I say—uplifting exploration of what people the world over do to withstand loss and the bite of impermanence. This is death as viewed by a mortician: profound, unavoidable, natural, and a bit funny. — KQEDThis humane book gently provokes you to wonder: what exactly is your ideal funeral? — The TimesFrom Here To Eternity is fascinating, thought-provoking and – who would have guessed? – sometimes funny. Put it on your bucket list. — The MailCaitlin Doughty is razor sharp, and writes about death with exceptional clarity and style. From Here to Eternity manages to be both an extremely funny travelogue and a deeply moving book about what death means to us all. — Dylan Thuras, co-founder of Atlas Obscura[Doughty’s] fascinating tour of rituals contains liturgies that readers will surely observe as rare, macabre, unbelievable, ancient, and precious—sometimes simultaneously. — KirkusShe is the ideal guide on this journey, curious and respectful...Recommended for fans of the author and those with an interest in anthropology and ritual. — Library JournalA thought-provoking book about the complicated, fascinating world of funerary practices. Unless you and your friends are immortal, this book pertains to you. — A. J. JacobsIn her jocular but reverential tone… Doughty doesn’t offer a simple morbid travelogue; instead, she digs into diverse death experiences with deep veneration and examines ties to socioeconomic, status, female identity, and religion. — Booklist