a photograph of a taxidermy bird, a skull, and some plants

All the Living and the Dead: From Embalmers to Executioners, an Exploration of the People Who Have Made Death Their Life's Work

by Hayley Campbell Author

Death scares us. It reminds us of our finitude, and the reality that everyone we love will eventually pass away. But for some, death is a way of life. In this fascinating exploration of the businesses, jobs, and infrastructure that surround the end of life, author Hayley Campbell talks to morticians, embalmers, detectives, crime scene cleaners, executioners, and more to get a better sense for what it is that causes someone to choose this kind of work and to understand how working in the death industry changes a person. In the process, Campbell interrogates our culture's hidden assumptions and postures towards death, and examines why it is that we work so hard to keep death out of sight. Ultimately, All The Living and the Dead reveals what we lose by alienating ourselves from something so intrinsically connected to life: its end.