R.I.P.: The Complete Book of Death and Dying

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9780062701404: R.I.P.: The Complete Book of Death and Dying

Did you know that American burial traditions include aerial burial, in which the body is placed in tree branches? Have you ever wondered which religions believe in afterlife or reincarnation? Ever been curious about exactly what the embalming process entails? The answers all lie in R.I.P.: The Complete Book of Death & Dying by Constance Jones. Reminding us that almost no subject in the world elicits such universal fascination as death, Jones has masterfully collected information from diverse sources to explore, illuminate, demystify and enrich our understanding of the myriad issues related to death and dying.

Publishers Weekly has praised Jones' approach as "clear-sighted" and "fearlessly inquisitive" and calls R.I.P.: The Complete Book of Death & Dying "invaluable and oddly uplifting." The book is divided into two parts and is equipped with a resource list of organizations, a bibliography and an index. "Part One" explores the cultural dimensions of death and dying, with chapters and sections on myths and legends explaining death, cultural traditions, the scientific study of death, demographic statistics, funerary customs, religious beliefs and historical anecdotes. Jones provides wide-ranging, informative, and occasionally humorous material that is thoughtfully and clearly organized. Topics covered include descriptions of the physiological changes at the moment of death, a history of cremation, and summaries of legal and ethical issues associated with death, such as capital punishment, euthanasia and suicide.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Jones's clear-sighted, fearlessly inquisitive approach to death and dying-whether the subject is autopsy, cremation, cannibalism, suicide, euthanasia or capital punishment-makes this unusual compendium invaluable and oddly uplifting. She surveys attitudes toward death, from Neandertal, ancient Egyptian, Greek and Celtic beliefs in an afterlife to the modern denial of life's finitude. Jones (Sexual Harassment) scrutinizes biogerontologists' scientific theories of aging; looks at the current debate over whether near-death experiences actually offer a glimpse of the other side; investigates death in popular culture, literature and film; and presents demographic data on infant mortality, AIDS, murder, causes of death, and life expectancy around the world. Her wide-ranging discussion of the soul, afterworlds, reincarnation, ghosts and spirit communication as filtered through the world's religions and spiritualism will challenge skeptics. Although some of the material tends toward the offbeat or bizarre-cult murders, morbid jokes, famous cemeteries, historic mass graves, weird deaths-she concludes with a practical section offering sensitive advice on living wills, choosing where to die, funeral arrangements and coping with loss.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

Death fascinates. Whether the subject at hand is violent death, coping with slow death, or one form or another of life after death, best-sellers, movies, and TV shows flail away at death incessantly. To sort out the whys and wherefores of this truly universal feature of human life, Jones offers a comprehensive survey of the many aspects of death and dying. Its how-to section is useful and efficacious, offering such utilities as cost analyses of various funeral arrangements, yet it pales in comparison to the entertainment section. Features like "Which Way Did They Go? Remarkable Deaths of Remarkable People" and "Once Is Not Enough: All-Star Serial Killers" make for definitely intriguing if not necessarily imperative reading. Equally fulfilling as dark-humored entertainment and as a self-help source for both the seriously morbid and those addicted to planning things down to the last detail, R.I.P. is a reader's delight but a cataloger's nightmare (reason enough to select it, many librarians may think). Mike Tribby

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