Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial

Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial - Penny Colman

Compassionate and comprehensive exploration of beliefs and burial practices across cultures and societies, drawing on extensive historical and anthropological research, personal accounts, and interviews. The book is enriched with stories both humorous and poignant, selections of epitaphs, chronology, and over 180 black-and-white photographs, many taken by Penny Colman.

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Praise for Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial

“Few readers will be able to put down Colman’s impeccably researched history of how cultures from ancient times to modern times honor (or dishonor) their dead. . . a daring and satisfying approach to a difficult subject.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“This could easily have deteriorated into morbid or sensationalistic drivel. But in Colman’s hands, it’s certainly neither. For her, death is a fascinating and important subject, worthy of serious social commentary, and she’s fill her solid, sensitive book answers a wealth of questions.”
Booklist, starred review

“Just the right mix of unblinking realism and sensitivity to varieties of beliefs and practices.“
School Library Journal, starred review

“The author has a compassionate eye, and she manages to endow her topic with both humanity and humor.”
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“In death, as in life, it is the personal and particular that is most poignant. In this remarkable presentation of a fascinating subject, Colman uses her own experiences of death, and the ceremonies, rituals and emotions surrounding it, to lead the reader into an exploration of the place that disposal of human remains has occupied both historically and in our time. Colman does not shy away from grisly detail, but presents it to readers young and old, with sensitivity and a solid contextual grounding.”
Children’s Literature

Best of the Best for the 21st Century, American Library Association


Images from Corpses, Coffins and Crypts: A History of Burial.

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I do the picture research and take photographs for my books. More than eighty of my photographs appear inCorpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial, in addition to many more eye-opening images depicting all aspects of the subject. Corpse, Coffins, and Crypts has 130 images.


Check out a Q & A and Readers’ Resources , and Speech for Corpses, Coffins and Crypts: A History of Burial.