HOUSES FOR THE DEAD: Burial Customs Through the Ages by Ann Warren Turner

HOUSES FOR THE DEAD: Burial Customs Through the Ages

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KIRKUS REVIEW

With Coffin's Death in Early America (p. 485, J-169) not yet cold, Turner takes readers on a more eclectic tour--to a Neanderthal cave (where the dead were buried under their families' living space), a megalithic English tomb, Tutankamen's more elegant one, and divers graves and mourning rites concluding with an Irish wake. Chapters begin with ridiculously dramatized fictional deaths and go on to describe what we know of the related customs and (in smatterings) beliefs of the cultures involved. There is also a side trip to Paris during the Great Plague when burial customs broke down, and, perhaps in an attempt to provide a bit of theoretical cement, a final chapter ticking off various myths about why people die. Human solidarity is invoked with ""We are Stone Age man; we are Dakota Indians; we are Parsis of India!"" Perhaps, but we are also bored stiff by the current commercialization of necrophilia.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1976
Publisher: McKay