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Distributed for Reaktion Books

Living with the Dead

How We Care for the Deceased

Spanning geographies, cultures, and the ages, a moving journey into the physical facts and metaphysical mysteries of how the living care for the dead. 
Death is universal. It will meet us all. But it’s also a practical problem—what do we do with dead bodies? Vibeke Maria and Andreas Viestad live by a cemetery and are daily spectators of its routines, and their fascination with burials has led them to dig deep to examine our relationship with the dead. Taking us on a journey around the world and into the past, the Viestads explore how the deceased are honored and cared for, cremated, and buried. From archaeological sites in Spain, Israel, and Russia to environmentally friendly burials in the United States and Ghana’s fantasy coffins, and from cremations without fire to the new industry turning our dearly departed’s ashes into diamonds, this empathetic and enthralling book is for anyone who knows their turn is coming, but who’d like a good book for the journey.

240 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Sociology: Social Gerontology

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Death Is for Everyone
Chapter 1: In the Beginning There Was the Funeral
Chapter 2: Death as a Practical Problem
Chapter 3: Packed in Plastic
Chapter 4: The Business of Death
Chapter 5: Choosing a Coffin
Chapter 6: Dust to Dust
Chapter 7: Up in Smoke
Chapter 8: Piecemeal and Divided
Chapter 9: A Monument to the Dead
Chapter 10: The Empty and Nameless Grave
Chapter 11: Death as Jewelry
Chapter 12: Living with the Dead


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