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Publisher's Summary

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 lived in the family home for two years, where the family has maintained a warm and respectful relationship. She meets Bolivian natitas (cigarette-smoking, wish-granting human skulls) and introduces us to a Japanese kotsuage, in which relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved ones' bones from cremation ashes.

With curiosity and morbid humor, Doughty encounters vividly decomposed bodies and participates in compelling, powerful death practices almost entirely unknown in America. From Here to Eternity introduces death-care innovators researching green burial and body composting, explores new spaces for mourning - including a glowing Buddha columbarium in Japan and America's only open-air pyre - and reveals unexpected new possibilities for our own death rituals.

Author bio: Mortician Caitlin Doughty - host and creator of Ask a Mortician and the New York Times best-selling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes - founded the death acceptance collective The Order of the Good Death and cofounded Death Salon. She lives in Los Angeles, where she runs her nonprofit funeral home, Undertaking LA.

©2017 Caitlin Doughty (P)2017 Recorded Books

What members say

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Caitlin has done it again

This book is a fascinating look at the ways death is handled in various cultures and communities. And it is a look at how our Western approach has fallen short, and needs to change.

Caitlin has a wry voice and an amazing perspective.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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A book everyone should read.

I think this is an important book for people to read.
I also think that this book, her first book, and her YouTube channel are awesome, because it’s so cool to see someone so unapologetically geek out over something they’re passionate about — especially, in this case, because this is something most people shy away from.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Eye opening and inspiring!

A wonderful insider look to death, ritual, and coming to an understanding of our eventual end. I loved the different looks on going through grief by ritual and community and has helped me not only fear death less but also plan my own passing and made that ok.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Diana
  • Antelope Valley, CA, United States
  • 04-19-18

Thoughtful guide pointing to a new (old) pathway

We, in the Western World can do Death better. There is a better way. It doesn't have to be focused on a casket - where the more spent is associated with a better funeral for the person who died and where the body is prettied up for viewing in a very brutal and invasive method of embalming behind-the-scenes. What goes on behind the scenes to make a body look good is . . . awful.

Combined with the first book, where Caitlin goes back through history and shows how it was often women who cleaned and prepared the body, often family members in the home, to how the Civil War created a need for a chemical treatment of the body to bring it home across distances. To how that war created a business model of embalming, with more and more the casket being a combined business source of profit along with embalming and the display of the body. How that profitable business model then became more of a male-dominated business along with a protective set of laws to ensure the business model was in control.

In this second book Caitlin goes back and forth - traveling to other countries to experience first-hand a different cultural take on death and bodies. It's fascinating. Woven between the travels are cogent examinations of our own treatment of bodies. And, how it has become a profitable business - often a financial burden for people without a lot of money.

It doesn't have to be that way. It doesn't have to be materialistic and expensive. It is possible to have a less invasive, less materialistic, and more meaningful and natural and dignified death, treatment of the body, and ceremonial and honorable grief process.

These are not necessarily thoughts expressed in her book, but her book made me think, reflect, and make decisions based on the information she provided in her books. And, I found her website. I love how she describes in her website what is done and what the prices are. And, since she has mentioned in her books about being opposed to "upselling" - it is refreshing to see that her website is a good example of how things can be done.

Narration: Excellent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing!

I loved everything about this book, but specifically the honesty in the ways we treat our dead. The stories were wonderfully descriptive and respectful. I’ll read anything Doughty writes.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating, Relevant, and Powerful

Would you listen to From Here to Eternity again? Why?

Yes, it is extremely thought provoking and well written.

What was one of the most memorable moments of From Here to Eternity?

I was particularly struck by the telling of the angelitos and the acknowledgement that we do not have enough ritual for something as traumatic as infant/pregnancy loss.

Have you listened to any of Caitlin Doughty’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have listened to one other and found both excellent

If you could give From Here to Eternity a new subtitle, what would it be?

A Collection of Possible Death Practices to Explore for a Death-Denying Culture

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Incredible Read

Listened to both of Caitlin's books in one sitting, and I am anxiously awaiting the next (hopefully there will be more)!
I was enthralled by the thoughtful cometary on various death cultures, which made me reflect on my and my family's impending death and what we can do to be hands on during the funeral process.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The Perfect Death-tober Read

Caitlin nailed. Killed it? However you want to say it, she wrote and read an amazing book. Humor, beauty, catharsis, it's all in here.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing Round the World Deathling View Point

That was so intimate and enthralling. Wow, just wow!! You did it again Caitlin. Brilliant

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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From a death enthusiast

I have been leaning towards mortuology for a while now, also started watching your YouTube channel since mid last year. I loved this book for being simple, funny, and also very moving. Believe it or not I almost cried in moments you wouldn't think there needed to be crying, but I did. Something about how personal these traditions of preparing and caring for the body of the dead made me feel sentimental. I hope to live long enough to see modern western customs give way for all these other traditions. Of course, I would have to take part in that change.
In summary, this is a great book, very entertaining and I loved it!!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-12-17

Never knew death was so fascinating

Caitlin Doughty breaks the stigma of death and invites it over for tea! A fascinating read by a very interesting author.