Death is universal, but each culture has found a different way to deal with it. This wide-ranging book examines the compelling subject of death, funeral rites and burial in different cultures and societies, from the drama of medieval French royal funerals to the burial alive of the Dinka `masters of the spear' in the Sudan, from the Egyptian pyramids to the Chinese terra-cotta army to elaborate Victorian mausolea, and from the Grim Reaper to Hades and the Underworld.
The History of Death illuminates the combination between the earthly and spiritual in funeral rites, the practices of human sacrifice and ritual killing, as well as the processes of grieving, burial, cremation, remembrance and the differing concepts of life after death. Funerals need not always be solemn, but can be celebratory, drunken and even lascivious.
An intriguing yet sensitive treatment, the book includes more than 100 remarkable photographs and artworks of representations of death and funerary rituals. Far from being a morbid study, The History of Death balances grim facts with intriguing details drawn from many cultures and epochs, revealing how through our passing we, in fact, define our lives.