From Here to Eternity

From Here to Eternity

Traveling the World to Find the Good Death

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Describes death customs and rituals from around the world, exploring how they compare to the impersonal American system and how mourners respond best when they participate in caring for the deceased.
Published: New York :, W.W. Norton & Company,, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780393249897
Branch Call Number: 363.75 DOU
Characteristics: xiii, 248 pages :,illustrations ;,22 cm
Additional Contributors: Blair, Landis - Illustrator


From Library Staff

DBRL_IdaF Feb 25, 2019

Fascinating, and often funny, look at how people around the world handle their dead. Doughty's book shows that what's "normal" is really just what you are used to. But it is written with the utmost respect. Stories of stealth funeral pyres, cremation, folks who keep their mummified fami... Read More »

"To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure."

After traveling the world and looking at death customs, it's interesting to come back and look at our own with fresh eyes.

Read Harder Challenge 2018, Task #14 - A book of social science. “Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalty to high ideals.” This is another of m... Read More »

DBRL_ReginaF Mar 07, 2018

I loved reading this book! I hope that we have managed to find a better way to eternity by the time I get there.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
ArapahoeMollie Sep 09, 2020

Yet again, Caitlin brings to the table her easy-to-read writing style mixed with informative experiences to make a book that you can't put down. Even if you're slightly squeamish, I'd highly recommend this book that embraces rituals of all cultures. She holds up each ceremony as sacred and true, even when it doesn't mesh with Western traditions.

Kstobo Mar 30, 2020

Just as enjoyable as her first book 'Smoke Gets in Your Eyes'. A fascinating look at death traditions around the world, and how they differ drastically from Western norms.

SCL_BethZ Jul 26, 2019

A fascinating book about funerary practices around the world. The author is the host of the popular “Ask a Mortician” channel on YouTube. In this book she travels to places like Bolivia, Indonesia, Mexico, Japan and the US. The book is very well researched and respectful of the cultures and practices it examines. It’s the type of book that challenges your beliefs and understandings and helps to break down some of our Western stigma and aversion to death. A read-alike for fans of Mary Roach’s Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers.

Jun 06, 2019

You know how sometimes you end up on, as we call it "The weird part of youtube"? I ended up there because a friend mentioned this channel "Ask a Mortician", and frankly they have excellent taste in weird internet because I've been HOOKED for almost a month. Then I discovered there was a book and boy howdy did I want it. (And thanks to the wonder that is my work AKA the Public Library that had a copy, I GOT ONE)

I was a little worried that the funny and quirky entertainment side of the channel wouldn't translate to writing, but it really did and the book was making me laugh within the first few chapters. Death isn't something I, or most people really, like to think about but I definitely have lately. Finding out about the different ways that cultures handle death around the world (Aka not our regular ways in Western society) was morbidly intriguing and Caitlin honestly makes it fun and entertaining to listen to. The illustrations were a nice touch, because while I missed having actual pictures I can understand why there were none. (I found myself googling a lot later).

I definitely recommend the book, which I already did at work by slapping a STAFF PICK sticker on the cover.


IndyPL_KaseyP May 06, 2019

A wonderful look at death practices around the world. Doughty is funny, candid, and well-researched. She is an advocate of "green burial", and it shows. However, she provides a broad picture of culturally diverse death practices. I found this book to be fascinating and oddly comforting following deaths in my own family.

DBRL_IdaF Feb 25, 2019

Fascinating, and often funny, look at how people around the world handle their dead. Doughty's book shows that what's "normal" is really just what you are used to. But it is written with the utmost respect. Stories of stealth funeral pyres, cremation, folks who keep their mummified family members at home with them until they can throw a proper funeral -- sometimes for years!

Each practice described has its benefits and drawbacks. I discovered my mercury fillings are going to be a problem no matter what happens to my body. Cremation is difficult at high altitudes. How the use of painkillers in cattle led to a mass die-off of vultures in India and is creating a ripple problem for Parsi funeral customs. That's another lesson of this book - we're all in an interconnected web, here on this world.

CedarMill_SabrinaH Nov 28, 2018

This delightful death-oriented travelogue is equally fascinating and thought-provoking. While Doughty's first book made me start to consider the alternatives for my own body after death, From Here To Eternity opened my eyes to death traditions I had never even imagined. The author reads the audiobook herself, to great effect.

lauz32 Nov 10, 2018

This was such an interesting and enjoyable read! I loved learning about the way other cultures deal with death and make it a natural part of life. I was in Mexico for day of the dead so it was quite an appropriate time to read the book, and it didn't feel macabre or depressing. A great quick read.

Sep 14, 2018

This book is so interesting! I didn't want to put it down once I started reading. It came with pictures but I wish more were included. I ended up googling a lot of the scenes described in the book.

AnnabelleLee27 Sep 06, 2018

Doughty deftly explores how the avoidance of death and our current funerary practices have left us bereft and emotionally adrift when facing the death and care of a loved one. She explores funerary practices across the world and finds inspiration and encouragement for rethinking fundamental deathcare. The best part is that Doughty writes with humor, respect, and intelligence and I found her epilogue to be especially smart and moving. The result is an entertaining, thought-provoking, and worthwhile read.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability
Apr 02, 2020

frenchhornistba thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Summary
Apr 02, 2020

Death is scary, but it doesn't always have to be, and Caitlin Doughty is here to teach us exactly that. Take a journey with Caitlin as she travels to places all around the world to witness their death rituals. You'll learn a lot, chuckle, and maybe you'll find that you're a little less worried about death after reading this wonderfully macabre book.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at DBRL

To Top