"Mitford's funny and unforgiving book is the best memento mori we are likely to get. It should be updated and reissued each decade for our spiritual health."--The New York Review of Books
Only the scathing wit and searching intelligence of Jessica Mitford could turn an exposé of the American funeral industry into a book that is at once deadly serious and side-splittingly funny. When first published in 1963 this landmark of investigative journalism became a runaway bestseller and resulted in legislation to protect grieving families from the unscrupulous sales practices of those in "the dismal trade."
Just before her death in 1996, Mitford thoroughly revised and updated her classic study. The American Way of Death Revisited confronts new trends, including the success of the profession's lobbyists in Washington, inflated cremation costs, the telemarketing of pay-in-advance graves, and the effects of monopolies in a death-care industry now dominated by multinational corporations. With its hard-nosed consumer activism and a satiric vision out of Evelyn Waugh's novel The Loved One, The American Way of Death Revisited will not fail to inform, delight, and disturb.
"Brilliant--hilarious--A must-read for anyone planning to throw a funeral in their lifetime."--New York Post
"Witty and penetrating--it speaks the truth."--The Washington Post
About Jessica Mitford
Jessica Mitford is also the author of Hons and Rebels (previously published as Daughters and Rebels), The American Way of Death, The Trial of Dr. Spock, Kind and Usual Punishment, A Fine Old Conflict, Poison Penmanship, Faces of Philip: A Memoir of Philip Toynbee, Grace Had an English Heart, and The American Way of Birth. Until her death in 1996, she lived in Oakland, California, with her husband, labor lawyer Robert Treuhaft.
Peter Y. Sussman was an award-winning editor at the San Francisco Chronicle from 1964 to 1993 and has written, edited, taught, and lectured widely since then. He is the coauthor of Committing Journalism and was a coauthor of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. He lives in Berkeley, California.