Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial

Mark Harris

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Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial

Grave Matters A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial By the time Nate Fisher was laid to rest in a woodland grave sans coffin in the final season of Six Feet Under Americans all across the country were starting to look outside the box when death came c

  • Title: Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial
  • Author: Mark Harris
  • ISBN: 9780743277686
  • Page: 483
  • Format: Hardcover
  • By the time Nate Fisher was laid to rest in a woodland grave sans coffin in the final season of Six Feet Under, Americans all across the country were starting to look outside the box when death came calling Grave Matters follows families who found in green burial a natural, economic, and ultimately meaningful alternative to the tired and toxic send ofBy the time Nate Fisher was laid to rest in a woodland grave sans coffin in the final season of Six Feet Under, Americans all across the country were starting to look outside the box when death came calling Grave Matters follows families who found in green burial a natural, economic, and ultimately meaningful alternative to the tired and toxic send off on offer at the local funeral parlor.Eschewing chemical embalming and fancy caskets, elaborate and costly funerals, they have embraced a range of natural options, new and old, that are redefining a better American way of death Environmental journalist Mark Harris examines this new green burial underground, leading you into natural cemeteries and domestic graveyards, taking you aboard boats from which ashes and memorial reef balls are cast into the sea He follows a family that conducts a home funeral, one that delivers a loved one to the crematory, and another that hires a carpenter to build a pine coffin.In the morbidly fascinating tradition of Stiff, Grave Matters details the embalming process and the environmental aftermath of the standard funeral Harris also traces the history of burial in America, from frontier cemeteries to the billion dollar business it is today, reporting on real families who opted for simple, natural returns.For readers who want to follow the examples of these families and, literally, give back from the grave, appendices detail everything you need to know, from exact costs and laws to natural burial providers and their contact information.

    • ↠ Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial || ç PDF Read by È Mark Harris
      483 Mark Harris
    • thumbnail Title: ↠ Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial || ç PDF Read by È Mark Harris
      Posted by:Mark Harris
      Published :2019-06-23T10:00:57+00:00

    One thought on “Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial

    1. joyce g on said:

      Good information about what options are available to everyone. You can become part of a reef.

    2. Lesley on said:

      This is one of those books that smacks you in the head and makes you think very hard about long-held beliefs. After reading about the conventional funeral--the type I had always assumed that I would have--my preferences are now starting to go towards the unconventional. For example, while fancy metal caskets were never my thing, the old-fashioned pine box is looking better and better to me after reading about the downside of today's standard casket (this book probably isn't for the squeamish, so [...]

    3. Emily on said:

      After opening his book with a fictionalized description of a funeral director guiding grieving parents through selecting the services and planning their 18-year-old daughter's funeral, Mr. Harris presents a walk-through of the embalming process. As a contrast to this “standard funeral industry” approach, Mr. Harris spends the rest of the book chronicling the experiences of several people who chose more natural alternatives.While it should be apparent that “no matter how it's sealed inside [...]

    4. Ghost of the Library on said:

      The tittle of this one pretty much explains its contentsgoing from a "traditional" modern american funeral to a natural burial in the woods of North Carolina, the author gives voice to the families of the deceased on how each in their own way looked towards dealing with their loss and honoring their dead.We accompany these families, and here the author is very clearly and respectfully giving them voice while taking a step back, they tell their story and give their reasons for these different cho [...]

    5. Melissa on said:

      A thought provoking look at alternative ways to say goodbye to your loved ones after death. From cremation to natural burials this is a great book for those looking for a more natural way to return a body or cremains back to the Earth.

    6. Brandy on said:

      One of the greatest books ever written. Excellent writing, storytelling, and research. Each chapter centers on a type of burial, blending research with an intimate story of a family who used that type of burial. I got teary eyed during pretty much every chapter, yet as a whole the book made me feel more okay with death. It kind of reminded me of the Buddhist belief in using the contemplation of death in order to live life better. Like the title suggests, the first chapter pertains to the most co [...]

    7. Lisa on said:

      This was an informative book about 9 different burials from least green to most green. The first is about the standard funeral of embalming the body, putting it in a casket and burying in a graveyard. After reading about the embalming process and the sewage of embalming waste, and then hearing about the sealed caskets which let anaerobic bacteria thrive and turn the body into a soupy toxic stew there is no way I would want to be embalmed. And then the graveyards. Ughwhy on earth would we want to [...]

    8. Amy on said:

      This book was brought to my attention several years ago when I heard of the tragic death of a young girl. But I was very intrigued by the way her family chose to bury her; in a pine box, no embalming, simply wrapped in a sweet homemade quilt made by someone in her family. This appealed to me in so many ways. I was having a conversation with a group of friends about this strange, comforting idea when one of them told me I needed to read a book called Grave Matters. Finally after years I have just [...]

    9. Doreva on said:

      This book is an difficult but empowering read. While I read it, I actually felt sick to my stomach as I went through the chapters about "modern" embalming and burial in the United States. I began to cry as I thought of the indignities suffered in death by my father, grandparents, and friends. I was filled with anger at the lies told by the funeral industry to customers who are grieving and do not think to question what they are being explained.After reading this book I also felt very much at pea [...]

    10. Myrrh on said:

      This book is a must-read for virtually everybody since we will all face death eventually. It explores the funeral industry, including a description of what a funeral director does from the moment he is contacted by a family memeber of the deceased (including a detailed description of the three-step embalming process). The author goes on to describe various funeral options including cremation, caring for the dead at home, natural burial, and even burial at sea. Many sources are mentioned througho [...]

    11. Alline on said:

      Guess what? Not only do you not have to be embalmed when you die, you also do not have to be buried in a casket. So much of what the funeral industry is pushing is absolute crap; we have become so far removed from the realities of death that we have allowed them to sanitize it and guilt trip us into spending thousands of unnecessary dollars and pollute the earth. This book is a well-researched look into ALL of our alternatives - from traditional embalming-hardwood casket-burial plot funeral to r [...]

    12. Jessica on said:

      I recommend this book to everyone who cares about the environment and the people, animals, and plants that will live on it after s/he is dead -- who wants to feel good about the impact his/her remains will have on this Earth. My own choice is to be cremated in an environmentally friendly crematorium with the proper filters to keep mercury and such out of the air and water and then to have those ashes mixed with concrete to form a reef ball that will be dropped into the ocean to expand and suppor [...]

    13. Amy Jenkins on said:

      Mark Harris explores the details of the standard toxic funeral with visual imagery of the anaerobic fuzzy-mold putrefaction of embalmed remains that were sealed in a coffin in an earnest intention to protect the body. After Harris shatters the illusion of the preserved corpse, he presents greener and perhaps more comforting options. Read entire review at examiner/x-4002-Green-

    14. Alison on said:

      "Cremation trims much of the thirty million board feet of lumber that's diverted to coffins annually [in the U.S.:]. . . Cremated bodies leach none of the 800,000 gallons of formaldehyde that are injected into embalmed remains every year." And there's the conservation of space factor(which has led the UK to cremate at 80%). Now, how d'ya feel?? The book outlines several other alternatives to traditional funerals/burials, some of which may be a little surprising.

    15. Joanne on said:

      Very fascinating read about the funeral industry. I had always considered having a "traditional" funeral (when the time comes), but this book made me disgusted with how costly and wasteful a funeral can be. This book takes you through alternative forms of burial, that are more eco-friendly, personal and in a strange way - more lovely.

    16. Jen on said:

      Creepy but fascinating. The environmental effects of a typical American burial is something I knew nothing about. It's absurd really, this quest to preserve the body. It ends up making a terrible toxic stew and it's a giant financial rip off as well. Just wrap me in a sheet and plant me under a tree please. Preferably on a quiet mountain side.Quite informative.

    17. Angela on said:

      I think this is an absolute must read for everyone. It is an eye opener and will help you to make the necessary decisions regarding the care and disposition of your remains. There are many more options than most of us realize and this knowledge can help you save your family some money and unnecessary stress in the end.

    18. Leah on said:

      Resourceful! Have you ever thought about what your options are, following your death? This book stretches beyond the embalming/cremation categories. Not gory, just perfect research and communication. Take a peek. There is more to your final disposition than you think.

    19. Marisa on said:

      Lovely. A straightforward but touching little look at the different options of burial in today's modern culture, starting from least environmentally friendly and going all the way to most. Not only is this book full of personal stories, it's a resource that shares candid information such as price estimates for different services, laws surrounding different burial practices, and even contact information for certain funeral homes and organizations that fit the bill. A must read for anyone who supp [...]

    20. Richard Fitzgerald on said:

      Good Overview of Afterdeath OptionsThis book gives a range of options for taking care of a body after a person has died. It is roughly organized from least to most ecologically sound in terms of the methods. Each chapter is anchored by a poignant story of a family using the particular method being discussed. Each chapter ends with additional resources. I wish it had more practical information but maybe that's better placed in a separate volume.

    21. Amy on said:

      The is an excellent resource for the various types of burials possible, even if the book is a bit dated. (2007) The stories were moving and I highly recommend if you are interested in exploring more natural and ecofriendly burials.

    22. Crystal on said:

      Mandatory reading for everyone! Once you read about the process for a traditional funeral in the first few chapters, I guarantee you will reconsider other options as it is amazingly costly, environmentally damaging, and outright unrealistic. There are so many better options which the author details in the remainder of the book.

    23. Ann on said:

      _Grave Matters_ is a really helpful and useful book on different types of ways to put people to rest. It begins with the traditional funeral service and what happens to the body as its prepared for this. It progresses then, roughly through various kinds of "greener" burials, including cremation, burial at sea, putting your loved one in a memorial reef, a home funeral, a coffin made by a local furniture maker, a backyard burial (only available in rural areas) to a natural cemetery (where the grav [...]

    24. Amelia on said:

      This is a "go-to" single reference on the modern way of death, despite the fact that its 2007 publication makes the lists of service providers a little out of date, especially considering how fast current thinking is changing. Each chapter addresses a single aspect of the industry, for example, embalming, acquiring a coffin, funeral homes, cremations, family cemeteries, reefs made of cremains, etc. through a focus on a single family story. The descriptions of what happens are detailed and dispas [...]

    25. Kimberly on said:

      I heard an interview with this author on NPR last year. It was fascinating, and I wanted to research the matter further at the time, but didn't. A recent conversation with a sibling led me to go back and find and read the book. Harris begins by describing a typical embalming, funeral, and burial process, including the sorts of decisions living family members are called upon to make. He also includes troubling price information about funerals, the average cost of which is $10,000 in the U.S. He t [...]

    26. Loren on said:

      From what I understand now, in the United States it was the Civil War that turned memorialization into an industry. The Great American Sendoff which masquerades as the traditional American funeral service is nothing but. The American way of death was actually quite simplistic before the parade of the dead 16th president turned embalming to the mainstream as well as the snowball of other amenities that ensued. And a natural burial appears to be a return to the environmentally sound belief of Gene [...]

    27. Aarøn VE on said:

      I really wanted to give this book four stars but there are some things that need to be addressed. As a student who is currently going through the schooling to become a Funeral Director, there is a lot about the industry that the author does not understand.For instance, in the first chapter when describing embalming, almost every word used has a negative or even down right disgusting connotation. When being embalmed, orifices must be plugged to prevent leakage. That is a fact yes. But when he des [...]

    28. John on said:

      Since my Mother passed away at the beginning of last month, I have been a bit focused on death matters. Jessica Mitford's "The American Way of Death" is definitely required reading on the subject of funeral practices. It is a classic that all others in the genre reference. Mark Harris' "Grave Matters" is a worthy addition to the genre, looking at what he hopes to become the future of funeral practices in the United States. Harris takes the reader through a series of unconventional funeral approa [...]

    29. Carre Gardner on said:

      If there were a 10-star option, this book would get it, IMHO. It's a look at the options that exist for planning your own or a loved one's after-death care. The first chapter describes, step-by-step, what happens to a person's body after the undertaker takes it to the mortuary to prepare it for burial in the traditional way. WARNING: this first chapter is not for the faint of stomach, though the rest of the book is not nearly as graphic as the beginning. The author shows what is involved in the [...]

    30. Elizabeth on said:

      This book is a very interesting look at what happens to your body when you die. I suppose the queasy will not react well, but hey, get over it, you're going to die. And you're going to have someone you love die, too. The book first highlights what happens during embalming procedures and the "preparing" of the body for burial. The description could make even the most stalwart somewhat queasy. It's not pretty. Costs of the typical American funeral are also discussed, and what "requirements" are no [...]

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