All the Living and the Dead A Personal Investigation into the Death Trade
‘Campbell is a gorgeous writer, capturing the exquisite pathos and gallows humour found in folks who spend their lives working with the dead’ – Caitlin Doughty, New York Times bestselling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes‘A gentle book and, like death itself, sometimes an unexpectedly kind one’ – Neil GaimanWe are surrounded by death. It is in our news, our nursery rhymes, our true-crime podcasts. Yet from a young age, we are told that death is something to be feared. How are we supposed to know what we’re so afraid of, when we are never given the chance to look? Fuelled by a childhood fascination with death, journalist Hayley Campbell searches for answers in the people who make a living by working with the dead. Along the way, she encounters mass fatality investigators, embalmers, and a former executioner who is responsible for ending 62 lives. She meets gravediggers who have already dug their own graves, visits a cryonics facility in Michigan, goes for late-night Chinese with a detective, and questions a man whose job it is to make crime scenes disappear.Through Campbell’s incisive and candid interviews with these people who see death every day, she asks: Why would someone choose this kind of life? Does it change you as a person? And are we missing something vital by letting death remain hidden?A dazzling work of cultural criticism, All the Living and the Dead weaves together reportage with memoir, history, and philosophy, to offer readers a fascinating look into the psychology of Western death.