Suggested Reading

Books to inspire future funeral directors!

The Mourner’s Dance: What We Do When People Die
Author: Katherine Ashenburg
Published: North Point Press, 2002
Description: An exploration of the rich and endlessly creative ways different cultures and times have devised for marking loss and finding solace in its wake.

Final Exam: A Surgeon’s Reflections on Mortality
Author: Pauline W. Chen
Publisher: Knopf, 2007
Description: Gives a different perspective on providing care and being in a compassionate profession as it relates to death and dying.

Do Funerals Matter? The Purposes and Practices of Death Rituals in Global Perspective
Author: William G. Hoy
Published: Routledge, 2013
Description: Examination of how funeral rites are used around the world to help mourners make sense of death and to negotiate the changes that occur in its aftermath.

Rest In Peace:  A Cultural History of Death and the Funeral Home in Twentieth-Century America 
Author: Gary Laderman
Published: Oxford University Press, 2003
Description: Traces the origins of American funeral rituals and the evolution of U.S. funeral homes, while depicting funeral directors as highly respected community members who care for the dead and the living.

The Good Funeral: Death, Grief, and the Community of Care  
Author: Thomas G. Long and Thomas Lynch
Published: Westminster John Knox Press, 2013
Description: Two of the most authoritative voices in funeral service – one a preacher, one a funeral director – write eloquently and passionately on behalf of the funeral, and offer powerful criticisms of current funeral practices whose ideology rests on denial and trivialization.

The Undertaking:  Life Studies from the Dismal Trade
Author: Thomas Lynch
Published: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997
Description: A collection of essays on the life and work of a small town funeral director caring for the living and dead in his own community.

The Funeral: A Chance to Touch, A Chance to Serve, A Chance to Heal
Author: Doug Manning
Published: In-Sight Books, 2001
Description: Insights on the values of the funeral service from his personal experiences are shared in a warm, conversational style.

Purified by Fire: A History of Cremation in America
Author: Stephen Prothero
Published: University of California Press, 2001
Description: The fascinating story of cremation’s rise from notoriety to legitimacy and a new look at important transformations in the American cultural landscape over the last 150 years.

Funeral Home Customer Service A-Z: Creating Exceptional Experiences for Today’s Families
Author: Alan D. Wolfelt
Published: Companion Press, 2001
Description: A must-read for those who want to enhance their effectiveness in serving 21st century families.