Book Review: The American Way of Death Revisited

The American Way of Death Revisited By Jessica Mitford

This is a rewrite of her original 1963 book with new prices and new information. It is a review of the business of funeral practices. This is not what you see in Six Feet Under, and only a little of what shows up in Family Plots. This is not a book about individuals, but rather the business as a whole.

It discusses the costs of funerals, the establishment of “traditions” and what is and is not legal. The last part is the most interesting. There are a lot of “morally questionable” selling practices, but what struck me more were the downright illegal actions. Basically, the industry gets away with straight-faced lies. Business is business, but it can be run ethically, and hard-sell tactics are sickening. There are funeral directors who do care for people. There’s no doubt in my mind. However, I looked into working at a cemetary. I’m just not enough of a hard-sell for the industry. I cannot work on commision when I know that the money is being sucked out of a greiving family.

I’ve also made some decisions about my future funeral and what I want. And I’ve been thinking seriously about establishing a true memorial park where people can scatter the ashes of their loved ones and still gather for picnics and parties. I see a beautiful park with lots of flowers and trees surrounding it and a glen with something similar to the Veitnam memorial (more naturalistic in nature) with the names of all those who are spread there engraved in the surface. “Summerland Memorial Park”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s