INFORMATION: RECOMMENDED BOOKS
Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death by Josh Slocum and Lisa Carlson. 512
pages, Upper Access Publishing.
classic exposé, The American Way of Death, drew back
the curtain on the funeral industry’s excess. Final Rights
investigates the $15-billion funeral and burial industry in 2011,
exposing consumer abuse, financial exploitation of the bereaved, and
how government regulators can’t be counted on to protect the grieving.
- In eight states the law says you have to hire a
funeral home, even if you want to care for deceased relative privately.
- Almost $1 billion has been stolen from trust
funds and insurance policies families paid for to ensure their last
wishes were carried out. Where were the regulators?
- Interested in a formaldehyde-free funeral?
Better be careful, as the conventional burial industry is finding
creative ways to make your green send-off as pricey as possible.
- The Federal Trade Commission gives you specific
protections when you buy from a funeral home, but they disappear when
you get to the graveyard. Find out why, and how to watch your wallet at
Final Rights takes on
these topics and more, offering consumers a road-map to help themselves
find a funeral that fits their needs and their budget. The only book of
its kind, Final Rights includes a chapter
on the laws in each state, written in plain English, with suggestions
for needed reforms.
North Carolina Chapter
Return to Simple Jewish Funerals and Eternal Traditions by Rabbi
Arnold M. Goodman. KTAV Publishing House, 2003, 120 pages. The story of
a Minneapolis congregation that decided to offer free funerals to its
members and, in so found itself challenged by dissension within the
Planning Kit. Every adult
American should have one in the
freezer. What? Before I Go, You Should Know — an end-of-life planning
kit. (One copy of this is provided by FCAP to each member household.)
Comes in a plastic button-tie pouch with state-specific Living Will and
other advance medical directives, plus a 16-page write-in booklet with
illustrations by Edward Gorey. Contains the brochure "Death Away from
Home," a directory of U.S. funeral consumer groups, and a checklist of
other important documents to store here (like military discharge
papers). Order two for a couple.
Act of Love
by Lisa Carlson. Upper Access, 1998. 640 pages. A comprehensive tome on
funeral law for the consumer, state-by-state — discusses how well, or
not, prepaid funeral money is protected, ethical standards, and serves
as a manual for families who wish to handle a death without the use of
an undertaker. Lists crematories; also medical schools and the
requirements for body donation. Comes with a list of state by state
legal updates compiled by FCA staff. "Lisa Carlson has assembled with
compassion the most comprehensive book ever produced on this subject."
—John Wasik, Consumers Digest.
Statutes. A collection of
North Carolina General Statutes that
affect the practice of after-death care of the body, from filing death
certificates to final disposition of the body. Compiled by Holly
Death Education and Simple Burial by Ernest Morgan. Upper
Access, 2000, NEW 14th edition. 160 pages. A concise and readable guide
on simplicity in funeral arrangements, cremation, body and organ
donation, advice on procedures at the time of death, suggestions for
memorial services, and directions for building a simple plywood casket.
Grave Matters: A Journey Through The
Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial by Mark
Harris. Scribner, 2007. 191 pages. Grave Matters follows families who
found in "green" burial a more natural, more economic, and ultimately
more meaninful alternative to the tired and toxic send-off on offer at
the local funeral parlor. Harris covers embalming, home funerals,
modern corporate cemeteries, memorial reefs for ashes, woodland burial,
and much more. Each chapter ends with a helpful, bulleted list of the
main points, and where you can go on the web to find out how to
accomplish what the family profiled in each chapter did.
FCA Member Price: $22.25 Purchase
I Died Laughing: Funeral Education with a
Light Touch by Lisa Carlson. Upper Access, 2001. 96 pages. If
death and funerals are difficult subjects in your family, here's one
way to break the ice. The jokes and cartoons will keep you chuckling.
There are a few rip-roaring belly-laughs here, too. As "Dear Abby"
said, "This book proves that dying can be a laughing matter."
Interspersed with the humor are pages of selected information to help
you become a more educated funeral consumer. $8.75 (There is no member
discount for this book as we are using it as a fund-raiser.
Furthermore, at the request of the author, 50% of the publisher's
profits will be donated to FCA. Buy several, to give to your friends.)
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
by Mary Roach. W.W.Norton, 2003, 304 pages. Roach’s raucously funny
(and educational) New York Times bestseller takes you to all the places
you thought no corpse had gone before. From the first chapter — A Head
is a Terrible Thing to Waste — to the last — Remains of the Author —
Stiff enlightens and convulses the reader with laughter.
The American Way of Death Revisited
by Jessica Mitford. Random House/Vintage. 1998. 296 pages. A scathing
yet witty critique of the funeral industry. Mitford's gift is in using
the industry's own words to make her points. Wickedly funny.
FCA Member Price: $12.25 Purchase
You Only Die Once: Preparing for the end
of life with grace and gusto by Margie Jenkins. Houston-based
therapist Margie Jenkins is known for the wit and gentle humor she uses
to approach a topic many would rather avoid. Through stories and
step-by-step planning suggestions, Jenkins shows that preparing for the
end of life can strengthen appreciation for the pleasures life offers
here and now. Jenkins has been a popular speaker at the annual meetings
of FCA affiliates around the country.
FCA Price: $12.25