August 1963: 'The American Way of Death'

Jessica Mitford's book about the funeral industry in the United States is published by Simon and Schuster. From the book jacket:

     Jessica Mitford's explosive and astonishing book makes public the fantastic inner workings of our Funeral Industry.
     The grotesqueries we glimpsed in Evelyn Waugh's "The Loved One" pale before the actuality as Miss Mitford discloses the bizarre facts behind the average American funeral, coast to coast. She brings into the open every aspect of the burial business ... 
      * its psychological strategies: the carefully choreographed walk through the "Casket Selection Room," and other devices by which the bereaved in maneuvered into buying an expensive funeral
     * its language (Cremains, Beautiful Memory Picture, Garden Crypt, Memorial Counselor, Grief Therapist, etc.) with which it propagandizes the public
     * its incredible economies (we spent an average of $1,450 for the funeral of every adult who died in the United States in 1961)
     * its elaborate embalming fashions -- practiced routinely, without consulting the survivors
     * its attempts to keep "the nosy clergy" from standing between the mourner and the undertaker's sales talk
     * its artifacts, including special cosmetics, footwear (the #280 reflects character and station in life"), even lingerie and "hostess gowns" for the dead, the decorator caskets, the vaults, the Earth Dispensers for the Committal Service ("no grasping of a handful of dirt, no soiled fingers!")
     * its Niche and Urn lobby, and the efforts to outlaw the scattering of ashes

* "The American Way of Death Revisited" (Mitford, 1998): @
* "The Undertaker's Racket" (excerpt from book, The Atlantic, June 1963): @
* Review (Saturday Review, August 31, 1963): @
* Review (Etude, University of Oregon, 2004): @ 
* "Outrage over the Death Business" (Life magazine, September 20, 1963, Page 98): @
* "Final Rights: Reclaming the American Way of Death" (Joshua Slocum and Lisa Carlson, 2011): @
* Mitford memorial site: @ 

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