Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

FROM HERE TO ETERNITY: Travelling the World to Find the Good Death

  • Written by  Chris Fitch
  • Published in Books
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY: Travelling the World to Find the Good Death
09 Feb
by Caitlin Doughty • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £14.99/£7.99 (hardback/eBook)

In Mexico, grievers console themselves over the loss of their family and friends through the famous Días de Los Muertos (Days of the Dead) festival, ‘when the dead are said to return to indulge in the pleasures of the living’. In South Sulawesi, Indonesia, they mummify and then regularly clean and re-dress their deceased relatives, through the ritual ceremony of ma’nene. In La Paz, Bolivia, locals even adopt human skulls and mummified heads, offering them prayers and cigarettes in return for their help.

If you’ve ever desired a ‘geography of death’-type book, this is what you were looking for. Caitlin Doughty, a professional mortician based in Los Angeles, set out to understand why Americans – alongside much of the ‘developed’ world – are increasingly paying through the nose for what seems the least comforting and most isolating (as well as boring) of funeral practices. ‘In an impressively short time,’ she writes, ‘America’s funeral industry has become more expensive, more corporate, and more bureaucratic than any other funeral industry on Earth. If we can be called best at anything, it would be at keeping our grieving families separated from their dead.’

The cultural practices she hones in on are as varied as they are bizarre. What she does find are many people who feel far more comfortable with death than most of us would ever admit. People who don’t regard death as the end, for whom corpses remain valued members of the family.

Whether you’re inclined to embrace the many fascinating traditions, or recoil in horror, this book cries out for less taboo and squeamishness around what happens to our physical selves once we’ve breathed our last. Buried? Cremated? Composted? Left atop a mountain to be devoured by vultures? No one method will suit all, but if anything, this is a book that screams for these and other options to at least be on the table. Written with great humour and respect, this book will undoubtedly educate, entertain, and leave you dying to learn more.

Click here to purchase From Here to Eternity: Travelling the World to Find Good Death on Amazon

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox every Friday.


Subscribe to Geographical!

University of Winchester


Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Winchester




Travel the Unknown


Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • The Human Game – Tackling football’s ‘slave trade’
    Few would argue with football’s position as the world’s number one sport. But as Mark Rowe discovers, this global popularity is masking a sinister...
    Essential oil?
    Palm oil is omnipresent in global consumption. But in many circles it is considered the scourge of the natural world, for the deforestation and habita...
    National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    The Nuclear Power Struggle
    The UK appears to be embracing nuclear, a huge U-turn on government policy from just two years ago. Yet this seems to be going against the grain globa...
    Diabetes: The World at Risk
    Diabetes is often thought of as a ‘western’ problem, one linked to the developed world’s overindulgence in fatty foods and chronic lack of physi...


NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...


by Graham Hoyland• William Collins • £20 (hardback)


by Dr Lucy Jones• Doubleday Books • £19.99 (hardback)


by Daniel Pinchbeck• Watkins • £9.99 (paperback)


by Jasper Winn • Profile Books • £16.99 (hardback)


by Nathan H Lents • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £16.99…


This hard-hitting marine conservation film – part of the Ocean…


Here are the newest non-fiction offerings to satisfy that craving…


The Society’s Earth Photo exhibition captures the planet’s natural riches…


by Alanna Mitchell • Oneworld • £16.99 (hardback)


by Christopher J Preston • The MIT Press • £20.95…


by Jamal Mahjoub • Bloomsbury • £25 (hardback)


by Joanna Kafarowski • Dundurn Press • 15.99 (hardback)


by Peter Dauvergne • Polity Books • £9.99 (paperback)


by Mary Beard and David Olusoga • Profile Books •…


It’s hard to imagine life without the visual world upfront…


by Patrick Winn • Icon Books • £14.99 (paperback)


by Mark Nelson • UA Press • £21.99 (paperback)


by Ed Douglas and John Beatty • Vertebrate Publishing •…


by Tristan Gooley • Sceptre Books • £20 (hardback)


by Adam Weymouth • Particular Books • £16.99 (hardback)