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A Brief History of DeathA Commonsense Book of DeathA Message from JakieAfter SuicideAfter You'd GoneAfterwardsAliveAll Alone in the UniverseAll Rivers Flow to the SeaAll Seasons PassAnd a Time to DieAt the End of WordsBeing with DyingBequest and BetrayalBereftBeyond GoodbyeBeyond the Good DeathBodies in Motion and at RestCatalystComfortConfessions of a Grieving ChristianContemplative AgingCoping With TraumaCrispinDarwin's WormsDeathDeath and CompassionDeath BenefitsDeath in the ClassroomDeath Is That Man Taking NamesDeath of a ParentDeath's DoorDefining the Beginning and End of LifeDon't Go Where I Can't FollowDriving My FatherDying in the Twenty-First CenturyElegy for IrisErasing DeathEthical WillsEvenings at FiveFacing Death: Elisabeth Kubler-RossFatal AttachmentsFortress of My YouthGhost at the WindowGoing Through Hell Without Help From AboveGood GriefGoodbye RuneGraceful ExitsGrave MattersGrieving for ChildrenHealing ConversationsHello from Heaven!History of SuicideHonoring GriefHonoring the Dead and Facing DeathHow We GrieveI Remain in DarknessI Wasn't Ready to Say GoodbyeIn the Wake of SuicideIt Takes a Worried ManLayoverLearning to FallLiberating LossesLife after LossLiving and Dying WellLosing Mum and PupLossLost in the ForestLove Is a Mix TapeLove That DogMaking Sense of SuicideMars and Venus - Starting Over.Michael Rosen's Sad BookMortal DilemmasNight Falls FastNobody's Child AnymoreOlive's OceanOn Life After DeathOne Last Hug Before I GoOne More WednesdayParting CompanyPeaceful Death, Joyful RebirthR.I.P.Reason's GriefRemembering GeorgySaying It Out LoudSeeing the CrabShooterSome Thing BlackSpeak to MeStandbyStayStill HereSuicidal ThoughtsSurviving HitlerThe Art of LosingThe AwakeningThe Boy on the Green BicycleThe Cambridge Companion to Life and DeathThe Case of Terri SchiavoThe Color of AbsenceThe Dead Fathers ClubThe Death of a ChildThe DisappearanceThe End-of-Life HandbookThe Forgotten MournersThe Healing Journey Through GriefThe Loss of Self: A Family Resource for the Care of Alzheimer's Disease and Related DisordersThe Lovely BonesThe Measure of Our DaysThe Mercy PapersThe MiracleThe Modern Art of DyingThe Other Side of SadnessThe Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of DeathThe ScarThe TravelersThe Trick Is to Keep BreathingThe Truth About GriefThe UndertakingThe Way of TransitionThe Work of MourningTo Die WellTuesdays with MorrieUnderstanding GriefWakeWhat Dying People WantWhen Breath Becomes AirWitWrinklesYoung@Heart

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R.I.P.Review - R.I.P.
The Complete Book of Death and Dying
by Constance Jones
Harpercollins, 1997
Review by CP
Mar 8th 2000 (Volume 4, Issue 10)

This is a book that seems to fall between many stools. It describes itself in its subtitle as "The Complete Book of Death & Dying" but even in the Introduction the author admits that it is hardly comprehensive. It's ten chapters cover a wide range of issues, including "The Science of Death and Dying," "Moral Statistics," "The Fate of the Body," "The Culture of Death," and "Making Arrangements." There are pages full of lists: different theories of causes of aging, dates of epidemics, serial killers, wars, different kinds of coffins, to name a few. Although there are seven pages of bibliography at the end of the book, there are no footnotes, and so this is not a scholarly book in the sense that one could base any research on it. It has very little about bereavement or discussion of how to deal with grief, and it certainly is not any kind of self-help book, although there is some information about modern funerals and some legal issues. It might possibly be used as a textbook for a college course on death and dying (I used it one semester) but there are far more comprehensive college textbooks available, and they have pictures in them and teachers' guides to accompany them. (I am currently using The Last Dance.)

So really what R.I.P. is best for is browsing. It's a bathroom book for the morbid. As such, it's is quite interesting. Did you know that

  • Gracie Allen and Humphrey Bogart are buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.
  • Violets carved on a tombstone represent humility.
  • In ancient Rome, someone who sang rude songs could be executed.
  • In 1994, Iceland had the lowest infant mortality rate in the world.
  • The people most likely to be shown dying violently on TV are elderly women, followed by lower-class men and elderly men.
  • Hegel's last words were, "Only one man ever understood me. And he didn't understand me."
  • In paying tribute to a person at his or her funeral, guests might be asked to wear the deceased's favorite color.

So R.I.P. is a good starting point for thinking about death and dying. The writing style is good, and it does contain plenty of useful information.

 

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