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All the Living and the Dead

A Personal Investigation into the Death Trade

Hayley Campbell

$29.99

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Bloomsbury
12 April 2022
'This is an absorbing and important book, seeking out stories so many shy away from and telling them with such respect, humanity, heart and, yes, wit. Without exaggeration, an awe-inspiring achievement' Nigella Lawson

'A gentle book and, like death itself, sometimes an unexpectedly kind one' - Neil Gaiman

We 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.

'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
By:  
Imprint:   Bloomsbury
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm, 
Weight:   440g
ISBN:   9781526601421
ISBN 10:   1526601427
Pages:   288
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Hayley Campbell is an author, broadcaster and journalist. She writes for the likes of WIRED, Guardian, New Statesman and Empire, and hosts the Unpopped! podcast for BBC Sounds and the Must Watch podcast on BBC Radio 5 Live. She was born in England, moved to Australia for twenty years, and now lives in London.

Reviews for All the Living and the Dead: A Personal Investigation into the Death Trade

Hayley Campbell is working out a philosophy of death by getting close to it; holding it; asking interesting questions of people who spend their lives dealing with it. This is an essential, compassionate, honest examination of how we deal with death, and how it changes the living. -- Audrey Niffenegger This is an absorbing and important book, seeking out stories so many shy away from and telling them with such respect, humanity, heart and, yes, wit. Without exaggeration, an awe-inspiring achievement -- Nigella Lawson The book's tour de force is the chapter on the technicians who prepare bodies for autopsy at St Thomas's Hospital in London. It is a superlative piece of writing, one of the best essays I have read in a long time: provocative, loving and profound -- Helen Rumbelow * The Times * Campbell weaves judicious reflections on the philosophy and history of the death industry into the reportage... Never macabre... poignant... Transformative * Financial Times * This book about death and about the people whose jobs and whose lives are dealing with death is moving, funny, and liable to unexpectedly cause me to tear up, reading it.... A gentle book and, like death itself, sometimes an unexpectedly kind one -- Neil Gaiman Campbell is a gorgeous writer, capturing the exquisite pathos and gallows humor found in folks who spend their lives working with the dead -- Caitlin Doughty, New York Times bestselling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes An extraordinary journey, through scenes and characters so chilling they have their own crystalline beauty. The writing is finely felt and full of life, Campbell always finding a way to look through horror, to see humanity. So many of the images in it are heart-stopping - and by the end I was surprised to find myself sobbing. It's superb -- Rhik Samadder, author of Sunday Times bestseller, I Never Said I Loved You A compassionate and compelling book. Fascinating and devastating in equal measure -- Charlie Gilmour, author of Featherhood Hayley Campbell is one of Death World's most important voices. Her compassion for the living and the dead stands out amongst the endless authors currently writing about death and dying. All the Living and the Dead is an extremely important book for anyone interested in what happens to a person after they die. I really think everyone should read it in order to appreciate the respect all the invisible workers tasked with handling the dead demonstrate every day -- Dr John Troyer I spent New Year devouring this book. Essential reading if you're a human person in possession of a life. A fascinating, searingly honest & unexpectedly tender look at those who take care of us in death. I badly needed to read this -- Tuppence Middleton An intriguing, candid, and frequently poignant book that asks what the business of death can teach all of us in the midst of life. Readers will form a connection with Campbell's voice as intimate as her own relationship with mortality -- Lindsey Fitzharris, author of The Facemaker


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