Books: How the Other Half Dies

FUNERAL CUSTOMS THE WORLD OVER (973 pp.)—Robert Habenstein and William Lamers—Bulfin Printers ($12).

Man is a funereal animal. For reasons best known to his witch doctors (sometimes also called head shrinkers) he often shows less interest in the living than he does in the dead. In this ponderous but morbidly fascinating volume—a sequel to that unintentionally hilarious masterpiece of exequial scholarship, The History of American Funeral Directing (TIME, Oct.

24, 1955)—Sociologist Robert Habenstein and Historian William Lamers have attempted to describe for U.S. readers how the other half dies.

In most parts of the world, the authors report, death gives warning of its...

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