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From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  15,410 ratings  ·  2,071 reviews
The best-selling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes expands our sense of what it means to treat the dead with “dignity.”

Fascinated by our pervasive terror of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for their dead. In rural Indonesia, she observes a man clean and dress his grandfather’s mummified body. Grandpa’s mummy has li
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Hardcover, 248 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Steven Yes, it is a detailed look into death practices from around the world. Interesting to say the least.
Karin Yes indeed.Do yourself a favor and read it if you haven't already.You will be so glad you did.

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Average rating 4.29  · 
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 ·  15,410 ratings  ·  2,071 reviews


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PorshaJo
OK, this might sound really weird....but I've been to a lot of funerals. And I mean a lot. As a very young girl, I used to go church on weekends with my grandparents, and they would always go to the funeral home after church. It was always the funeral home three day viewings followed by a church service and grave site service. Many, many years later a family member passed and was cremated. I thought it the oddest thing, completely unheard of. I had many long discussions with my husband about it ...more
Petal X Planet
This is a brief tour of some of the world's strangest burial practices. In the epilogue, thanking people, Caitlin says, "Finally Landis Blair, who was an all-right boyfriend but is now a killer collaborator". And that feels like the key to this all-right, 3.5 star (at best) book.

It feels like flushed with the deserved success of first book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, the author had decided to have a dual career as of funeral home proprietor and writer and ha
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
I was sent this book by the publisher after responding to an email sent to a librarian email list; they had extras leftover from ALA, and I was #ALAleftbehind, so I asked for a few from their list.

I knew of Caitlin Doughty but never read her earlier book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, which talks about her experience running a crematory and funeral home. In this book, she visits several different places that deal with death differently, either from cultural differences
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Emily
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Caitlin Doughty has done it again: dragged us death-phobic Westerners into the light of what grieving and death could (and maybe should) look like. In From Here to Eternity, Caitlin travels the globe and shares her first-hand experiences of getting up close and personal with death rituals from around the world.

I found each section absolutely captivating, and although the Tana Toraja bit did give me a nightmare last night (seriously), I'm going to blame that on the arms-length (or maybe football field) d
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Emily
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVED this. I cannot wait to pick up more of Doughty's work and to binge watch her YouTube channel "Ask a Mortician."

In this book, Doughty outlines all of the fucked up ways in which the US death industry is fucked up. She looks at expenses, dignity, and the seeming moratorium on public grief here in the states.

In contrast, Doughty takes the reader along with her as she travels the world learning about other cultures' death rituals and mourning practices. Thi
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Alice Lippart
So interesting and a great introduction to this topic!
Lois Bujold
Sep 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: larger mortals
Recommended to Lois by: ran across on Amazon, tracked back to my library
Three-and-a-half stars, really. Read in one fascinated day. The personal explorations by a young California mortician of funeral practices across the world.

My eye was first caught by her more recent work, the irresistibly titled Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions From Tiny Mortals About Death, but my library's wait list was too long, so I selected this one instead. Good value. Her others are certainly on my to-read list now.

Ta, L.
Ross Blocher
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
From Here to Eternity is the kind of exuberant, passionate non-fiction I live for. Caitlin Doughty has a deep fascination with death: she is a funeral director by trade and her knowledge, enthusiasm and good humor are clearly evident as she describes and de-stigmatizes cultural attitudes toward death around the world. Many of the stories revolve around her own travels to various parts of the world to witness ceremonies, crypts, crematoria, and columbaria (places where cremated remains are kept). In Colo ...more
Ashley DiNorcia
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
4.5
In her second book, Caitlin takes us around the world to take a look at how other cultures view and treat death. If you're already aware of how bizarre, detached and corporate-ified the US is about death, this will be a lovely trip through some truly beautiful rituals and cultures. If you aren't aware, well, this might be a bit jarring for you.

Caitlin approaches the topic with respect and just the right amount of humor. I can't recommend her writing enough, and would definitely recomme
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Ammar
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
fascinating book about the various cultures and how they interact with death, and the concept of the departed or loved one. were many non-western cultures perform more natural acts of burial, a non-industrial cremation. some use a pyre to lit a loved one, while others keep them mummified, and visit them often.

The Japanese use chopsticks to pluck their loved one's bones from the ashes.

Fascinating and written beautifully
Erica
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it
My anticipated reaction:


My actual reaction:


This isn't bad, not by a longshot. It's also not the stunning masterpiece I'd lead myself to believe it would be. A lot of that is my fault because I've stalked Caitlin Doughty for about 4 or 5 years now and am up to date on all her YouTube videos. I often read articles about her or by her or those written for Order of the Good Death so not a lot of this information was new to me. W
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Heather ~*Undercover Goth Queen*~
I didn't enjoy this quite as much as Doughty's previous book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, but some parts were really interesting (Himalayan vultures with nine-foot wing spans) and others quite moving (people grieving their dead children).
Robin
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This author is so awesome. I want to go to her funeral facility when I pass. More to come.
Jenna
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Mary Roach
Who says death can't be fun? Well, maybe not death as in the process of dying, but a a good book about death? Sure, it can be lots of fun!
In "From Here to Eternity", Caitlin Doughty takes us to several countries around the world, detailing their practices with their dead. At times quite macabre (this is a book about death, afterall), it is nonetheless a most interesting book. Ms. Doughty mixes wit and sarcasm with fascinating details, making this one delightful book to read! Why is it each culture thinks their
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Amanda
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: death, non-fiction
This was not what I was expecting, which was a SGIYE part two. This is very much an informational nonfiction rather than a memoir, though there are memoir-esque elements about the companions Caitlin travelled with. This is a great overview of death rituals around the world, but not an in depth resource for death geeks. My favorite chapter was about Japan, as there were more details that helped me understand their rituals and culture. I wish Caitlin had been more present in the text as she was in ...more
Victoria ♡
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so interesting! It really got me thinking tbh. Recommend Caitlin's books to everyone they're so good!!
Karyl
This is an absolute must-read. Here in America, we are so separated from death. It is something to be feared, kept away from, hidden behind expensive caskets and embalming and services in a "multisensory experience room" (p. 234). Our dead are basically ripped from us, held in morgues and funeral homes, with little transition from the state of living to being buried in a cemetery or being resigned to the flames during cremation.

Doughty's point during this book isn't a tour of the world's strang
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Rebecca
From Here to Eternity asks us to confront our bias against other cultures’ “savage” death rituals and see how they might be healthier than the usual Western approach of denying/hiding death. Many rituals Doughty observes are about maintaining a personal connection to the dead. In South Sulawesi, Indonesia, corpses remain with their families for months or years, preserved as mummies. Other destinations include a North Carolina body farm that is attempting to compost corpses and a Japanese columbarium whe ...more
Rebecca Renner
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, arcs
Few life events affect us more than the death of a loved one. At times, it can seem that grief is monolithic, but not every culture deals with death and grief in the same way. The death culture of the US endeavors to paint a pleasing facade over what we consider macabre. Embalmers camouflage the reality of the grave with chemicals and adornments. Cemeteries wall off the dead behind stone, concrete, and coffin wood. In her nonfiction book From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the G ...more
TheYALibrarian
Rating 5 Stars

I really can't find any reason to complain about Caitlin Doughty and her grim but amusing books on her experiences with death. Especially as she walks hand in hand with the reaper on a daily basis as a mortician; a job I could never do myself but have always been curious about.

This book however is more on the customs and traditions of families all over the world when it is time for someone to leave their mortal coil behind. For what I have read from what Caitlin has
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Sonja Arlow
3 stars

I absolutely LOVED Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory.

It was a quirky memoir of an inexperienced cremation assistant finding her feet in a macabre and sometimes quite depressing industry.

But Caitlin has grown up, the funeral business is no longer just funny anecdotes but an industry that sometimes hurt the grieving more than help by making the final goodbye so absurdly clinical that it loses its humanity.

This book follows Caitlin arou
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britt_brooke
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This didn’t blow me away like her first book, but it was still a pretty fascinating read. The cool illustrations added a lot, and were, I would imagine, more pleasant than actual photos would have been. The writing was a little flat and research paper-ish, though. I really wanted more of Doughty’s wacky personality.
Kevin Shepherd
To say Caitlin Doughty's sense of humor is a bit dark and macabre might be accurate, but it's very misleading. She's dead serious (pun intended) about her subject matter but approaches it with an intertwining of zeal and humor that is at once enlightening and entertaining.

From Colorado, to Indonesia, to Mexico, to Japan, back to the states and North Carolina, off again to Spain, south to Bolivia, and finally California, Doughty takes us on a whirlwind tour of some of the world's most interestin
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Lauren
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reading this book gave me some good ideas for conversation starters!

Doughty's last book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, was a "pull the curtains back" on the funerary industry piece, and I enjoyed that one immensely. This book follows a different logic altogether, instead of Doughty sharing information about her field, she is now learning right along with us as she travels to a few locations [Indonesia, Bolivia, Spain, Mexico, various locations in the US) and learns more a
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Erin Duerr
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If Jessica Mitford's "Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain" frightened us into facing the reality of dying in America, Caitlin Doughty's writing is like being hugged and told everything is going to be okay. Once again Doughty guides us along an entertaining, informative and empathetic journey through death culture and this time we get to travel the world as we do it.

Just like her first book, this is a title I want to hand to people and say, "Read it and then let's talk."
Shannon
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
4/5

Solidly written, intelligent, witty, insightful, and unexpectedly heartfelt. I love Caitlin's YouTube series, Ask a Mortician, and equally loved her first book and memoir, The Smoke Gets in your Eyes. Although this book was less autobiography and more historical and informational, I did definitely enjoy it. Plus, the illustrations were haunting and gorgeous.
Deb✨
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tt-scary
This book discusses different death rituals around the world, and it was pretty interesting. I'd say some were more interesting than others and there are definitely some I've never heard of before. 3.75 stars.
Mainlinebooker
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Calling all fans of cultural anthropology for this dive into how different cultures approach death and funereal rights is eye opening and fascinating. I never know how other people will react to this subject but I found her former book, Smoke gets in your Eyes, which talked about the cremation process utterly engrossing. This book is no exception. She takes us on a world tour of different practices through her easy conversational style,humor ,and her dedicated belief in accepting different cultu ...more
Mary
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
From Here to Eternity: Travelling the World to Find the Good Death
by Caitlin Doughty
It seemed only fitting that I chose to read Caitlin Doughty's “From Here to Eternity" on a rainy Saturday afternoon on the third anniversary of my mother’s death and contemplate a subject that makes most of us a little squeamish. Doughty's book is a frank and good humored look at death rituals around the world. "All will die...We avoid the death that surrounds us at our own peril, missing its beauty and its les
...more
Erin
I was actually surprised I would Love this book as much has I did! From the first page I was engrossed! It had me like Do people really do these things with their deceased loved ones? It gave me a more cultural perspective on death and how far people will go to persevere that life. I finished this pretty quickly mainly bc I couldn't put it down. When i wasn't reading it I was thinking about it. Haha. I highly recommend this book!!
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3,264 followers
Caitlin Doughty is a mortician and the author of Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? as well as the New York Times best-selling books Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and From Here to Eternity. She is the creator of the “Ask a Mortician” web series and founder of The Order of the Good Death. She lives in Los Angeles, where she owns and runs a funeral home.
“It is worth noting that the main players in the recomposition project are women—scientists, anthropologists, lawyers, architects. Educated women, who have the privilege to devote their efforts to righting a wrong. They’ve given prominent space in their professional careers to changing the current system of death. Katrina noted that “humans are so focused on preventing aging and decay—it’s become an obsession. And for those who have been socialized female, that pressure is relentless. So decomposition becomes a radical act. It’s a way to say, ‘I love and accept myself.” 13 likes
“Insist on going to the cremation, insist on going to the burial. Insist on being involved, even if it is just brushing your mother’s hair as she lies in her casket. Insist on applying her favorite shade of lipstick, the one she wouldn’t dream of going to the grave without. Insist on cutting a small lock of her hair to place in a locket or a ring. Do not be afraid. These are human acts, acts of bravery and love in the face of death and loss.” 12 likes
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