Cover image for Macmillan encyclopedia of death and dying
Macmillan encyclopedia of death and dying
Kastenbaum, Robert.
Publication Information:
New York : Macmillan Reference USA, [2003]

Physical Description:
2 volumes (xxi, 1017 pages) ; 29 cm
v. 1. A-K -- v. 2. L-Z.
Added Author:


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ1073 .M33 2003 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
HQ1073 .M33 2003 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



This title covers all aspects - biological, medical, social, sociological, psychological, cultural, religious, philosophical - of death and dying. The book also provides a historical perspective of death and dying through the ages. In almost all entries, the set gives ample coverage to non-US customs and attitudes, for example, in such articles as AIDS, funeral industry, infanticide, and suicide.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This new encyclopedia from Macmilan offers another option in the popular field of death reference works. The 327 signed entries, written by scholars and expert care providers, range in length from a few paragraphs to several pages. The focus of the entries is on exploring "the place of death in contemporary life," although the encyclopedia also aims to provide a historical perspective of death and dying through the ages. Types of entries include causes of death (Assassination, Cancer, Drowning); practices surrounding death (Cryonic suspension, Pyramids, Sympathy cards); individuals and events that have influenced the way we think about death (Sartre, Jean-Paul; Terrorist Attacks on America); and entries on the nature or meaning of death from various multidisciplinary and multicultural perspectives (Confucius, Ghost Dance, Maya religion). See also references are included at the end of each entry along with a bibliography featuring monographic, periodical, and Internet resources. Many of the entries are accompanied by one of the 150 black-and-white photos scattered throughout the volumes. An appendix profiles and gives contact information for 75 organizations active in death-related education, research, advocacy, or other areas. This is followed by a comprehensive general index. The release of this set unfortunately succeeds the very similar one-volume Encyclopedia of Death and Dying (Routledge, 2001), which offers more than 400 slightly more succinct entries and bibliographies as well as a separate name index. Both sets could serve as an update to the Encyclopedia of Death (Oryx, 1989), but libraries on tight budgets may not be able to afford both despite the fact that each has some unique content and perspective. Either title could be complemented by the more specialized Death and the Afterlife: A Cultural Encyclopedia (ABC-CLIO, 2000), which deals with the meaning of funeral and afterlife traditions in various cultures. The Macmillan Encyclopedia of Death and Dying is written in language suitable for the general reader and is recommended for academic and large public libraries.

Library Journal Review

In this two-volume set, noted scholar Kastenbaum (The Psychology of Death) strives to present a multidisciplinary and multicultural view of death, including more than 300 alphabetically arranged articles on everything from ancient gods and goddesses to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The result is a major resource, more complete and better organized than 2001's Encyclopedia of Death and Dying, edited by Glennys Howarth and Oliver Leaman. The articles touch on many different cultural traditions (e.g., Aztec, Chinese, Egyptian, Islamic, Mayan, Native American, and Polynesian), though having mostly American contributors detracts somewhat from the international viewpoint. A disproportionate number of chapters (24 in all) expound on various aspects of suicide, and there are a few odd entries, such as "Elvis Sightings" and "Cadaver Experiences" (a better title for the latter might have been "The Socialization of Medical Students"). Most of the entries are appropriate, however, and the content can be easily accessed through a very complete and useful 78-page index. An appendix provides information about 75 organizations, and the 150 black-and-white images are valuable and relevant. Highly recommended despite its shortcomings for both public and academic libraries.-Annette Haines, Sch. of Art & Design, Ann Arbor, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

On the heels of Encyclopedia of Death and Dying, ed. by Glennys Howarth and Oliver Leaman (CH, Mar'02), Macmillan's encyclopedia addresses fewer issues in greater depth, with a decided bent toward US academic readers. Howarth and Leaman supply more but somewhat briefer entries, with broader historical and cultural contexts. Seeking to make "a contribution to the understanding of life," Macmillan offers contemporary perspectives on psychosocial issues--abortion, assassination, children and media violence, euthanasia, firearms, serial killers, several aspects of suicide--and also covers pain management, resuscitation, cancer, and stroke. The sections on bereavement and grief counseling are up-to-date, incorporating new research about psychological consequences of grief. Contemporary scholars, including non-US authors, have written many of the articles. The bibliographies are current and cite key works. In the tradition of Macmillan reference books, the index is extensive, and the format of the set makes it easy to use. An excellent source for both undergraduates and graduate students; recommended for all health profession and academic library collections. M. K. Hartung Florida Gulf Coast University