The American Way of Death

The American Way of Death


[Mitford, Jessica] New York: Simon and Schuster, 1963. 8vo. 333pp. Embossed black cloth. Dust jacket has small stain on front, in mylar. Previous owner signature on flyleaf. Some staining to middle of edge of text block. Top of text block blacked.

Jessica Mitford's (1917-1996) ground-breaking (whoops) book on the American funeral-industrial complex. This book set to expose the extent to which capitalism had infiltrated our understanding of death by revealing the unnecessary and expensive practices associated with disposal of human remains and grieving survivors. It is one of the founding documents of the death-positivity movement, and was important in changing the way we view mortality, death rites, and survivorship. If you're contemplating green burial or low-cost cremation, or if you've ever attended a death salon, you can thank Mitford and the compassionate funeral industry professionals who followed her.

A revised edition was published after Mitford's death, in 1998.

Fun facts: Jessica was sister to Nancy Mitford, English novelist and "Bright Young Thing." The American Way of Death was cited by David Bowie as one of his favourite books. J.K. Rowling was so enamored of her writing she named her daughter "Jessica," after Mitford. Do with that what you will.

Add To Cart