Philosophical and Cultural Ideas On Death

book review

Even as a book reviewer, it is not often that you come across books that deal with the subject of death. You may come across themes of loss, loneliness, and other emotions that death brings, but to look at non-existence in the face and examine it critically is something I am not used to. So, ladies and gentlemen, I present Death: A Reader, by Mary Ann G. Cutter.

Death: A Reader takes a broad look at the way humanity views death. The author examines various cultures from different timelines to illustrate how our perspectives on death differ. Ultimately, the book concludes that how we view death affects the way we view suicide, old age, how we handle the news of our demise, and the manner with which we conduct funerals.

Though the author points to a personal event (the loss of her husband) as one of the triggers for writing this book, you will find that this work lacks a personal touch.  Death: A Reader reads like an academic paper and it has lots of references that might put an average reader off.

Having said that, this is a well-researched and thorough work. Granted, it is a dry read; however, those looking for materials on this grim subject (whether for academic, legislative, or personal purposes) will find a few useful information and philosophical ideas to help them on their way.

Many thanks to the University of Notre Dame Press for the review copy.


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