Death is something we all confront—it touches our families, our homes, our hearts. And yet we have grown used to denying its existence, treating it as an enemy to be beaten back with medical advances.We are living at a unique point in human history. People are living longer than ever, yet the longer we live, the more taboo and alien our mortality becomes. Yet we, and our loved ones, still remain mortal. People today still struggle with this fact, as we have done throughout our entire history. What led us to this point? What drove us to sanitize death and make it foreign and unfamiliar?Schillace shows how talking about death, and the rituals associated with it, can help provide answers. It also brings us closer together—conversation and community are just as important for living as for dying. Some of the stories are strikingly unfamiliar; others are far more familiar than you might suppose. But all reveal much about the present—and about ourselves.
Dr. Brandy Schillace is a historian of medicine and the critically acclaimed author of Death's Summer Coat, Clockwork Futures, and most recently, Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher, described by the New York Times as a “macabre delight.” Her books have been reviewed in Science Magazine, the New York Times, New Yorker,Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Dr. Schillace is host of the Peculiar Book Club, a livestream community of authors and readers, and has appeared on Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Museum, NPR’s Here and Now, and FOX’s American Built. She has bylines at Scientific American, Globe and Mail, HuffPo, SLATE, and CrimeReads. Dr. Schillace is a 2018 winner of the Arthur P. Sloan Science Foundation award, and in addition to her work as an author, is editor-in-chief of BMJ’s Medical Humanities Journal. (she/her)