Macmillan Encyclopedia of Death and Dying. 2 Vol. Set
by Robert Kastenbaum (Editor)
This new encyclopedia from Macmilan offers another option in the popular field of death reference works. The 327 signed entries, written by scholars and expert care providers, range in length from a few paragraphs to several pages. The focus of the entries is on exploring "the place of death in contemporary life," although the encyclopedia also aims to provide a historical perspective of death and dying through the ages. Types of entries include causes of death (Assassination, Cancer, Drowning) ; practices surrounding death (Cryonic suspension, Pyramids, Sympathy cards) ; individuals and events that have influenced the way we think about death (Sartre, Jean-Paul; Terrorist Attacks on America ); and entries on the nature or meaning of death from various multidisciplinary and multicultural perspectives (Confucius, Ghost Dance, Maya religion ). See also references are included at the end of each entry along with a bibliography featuring monographic, periodical, and Internet resources. Many of the entries are accompanied by one of the 150 black-and-white photos scattered throughout the volumes. An appendix profiles and gives contact information for 75 organizations active in death-related education, research, advocacy, or other areas. This is followed by a comprehensive general index.
The release of this set unfortunately succeeds the very similar one-volume Encyclopedia of Death and Dying (Routledge, 2001), which offers more than 400 slightly more succinct entries and bibliographies as well as a separate name index. Both sets could serve as an update to the Encyclopedia of Death (Oryx, 1989), but libraries on tight budgets may not be able to afford both despite the fact that each has some unique content and perspective. Either title could be complemented by the more specialized Death and the Afterlife: A Cultural Encyclopedia (ABC-CLIO, 2000), which deals with the meaning of funeral and afterlife traditions in various cultures. The Macmillan Encyclopedia of Death and Dying is written in language suitable for the general reader and is recommended for academic and large public libraries. RBB
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