If you're interested in learning more about funeral and cemetery law (and the modern industry), you could of course start with my books:
- The Law of Human Remains (2015)
- Cemetery Law: The Common Law of Burying Grounds in the United States (2015) (with Daniel Gibson)
But there are a variety of other essential books that you should check out.
Lisa Carlson and Josh Slocum, Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death (2011). A very user-friendly examination of the laws impacting the rights of decedents and their families to control the disposition of human remains.
Caitlin Doughty, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory (2014). An engaging insider's look at the modern funeral industry by a California funeral director who isn't afraid to challenge the status quo.
T. Scott Gilligan and Thomas F.H. Stueve, Mortuary Law (10th ed. 2003). The textbook used by mortuary colleges.
Mark Harris, Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial (2008). Recognizing the growing interest in "green" alternatives to the consumptive American way of death, Harris demystifies the options and challenges.
Percival Jackson, The Law of Cadavers and of Burial and Burial Places (1950). Out of print, copies are expensive but worth it.
Gary Laderman, Rest in Peace: A Cultural History of Death and the Funeral Home in Twentieth-Century America (2005). A nice balance to the critiques by Doughty and Mitford of the modern funeral industry.
Gary Laderman, The Sacred Remains: American Attitudes Toward Death, 1799-1883 (1996). A solid history of the development of the funeral services industry in the United States.
Thomas Lynch, The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade (2009). A lyrical and honest examination of the life of a modern funeral director.
Jessica Mitford, The American Way of Death Revisited (2000). The sharp, funny, and flawed classic critique of the American funeral industry.
David Charles Sloane, The Last Great Necessity: Cemeteries in American History (1991). The definitive history of cemeteries in the United States.
Marilyn Yalom, The American Resting Place: 400 Years of History Through Our Cemeteries and Burial Grounds (2008). Beautiful photographs of a variety of cemeteries in the United States.
What books would you include in this list?