Encyclopedia of the End: Mysterious Death in Fact, Fancy, Folklore, and More
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Encyclopedia of the End: Mysterious Death in Fact, Fancy, Folklore, and More

by Deborah Noyes
     
 


How much do we truly know and understand about our own mortality? Enter Encyclopedia of the End, a compulsively readable and beautifully illustrated compendium that explores this most taboo of topics. Entries present a kaleidoscopic mix of topics from afterlife to assassination, forensic science to funeral foods, rigor mortis to reincarnation and more. With an…  See more details below

Overview


How much do we truly know and understand about our own mortality? Enter Encyclopedia of the End, a compulsively readable and beautifully illustrated compendium that explores this most taboo of topics. Entries present a kaleidoscopic mix of topics from afterlife to assassination, forensic science to funeral foods, rigor mortis to reincarnation and more. With an appreciation for the profound and profane, Deborah Noyes helps lift the shroud of secrecy surrounding one of the most fascinating—and ordinary—phenomena of life.
After all, who says that a book about death can’t be lively?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Readers will be struck by the breadth of information provided in a single entry, as well as by the way the entries speak to one another, forming a cohesive whole. But what may please readers the most is Noyes’s welcome neutrality: the only agenda here is in the service of knowledge."--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The book is both comprehensive and compulsively readable, and even the most reluctant readers will find themselves caught up in the vivid descriptions and colorful photos and reproductions. A visually pleasing and attention-grabbing offering."--School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

This stylish A-to-Z encounter with all things related to death and dying shows Noyes (The Ghosts of Kerfol; Red Butterfly), a Candlewick editor, at her liveliest, starting with the quotations from the infamous deceased which appear on the endpapers. Addressing topics as far-ranging as "Genocide," "Goth" (as in goth fashion) and "Spirit Photography" (she traces its origins to an 1861 Boston jewelry engraver turned fraudulent medium), the author offers a broad illumination of spiritual, historical and biological aspects of death. Photos, paintings and engravings in homage to "the end" make the book dynamic visually, too. Readers will be struck by the breadth of information provided in a single entry, as well as by the way the entries speak to one another, forming a cohesive whole. But what may please readers the most is Noyes's welcome neutrality: the only agenda here is in the service of knowledge. Ages 12-up. (Dec.)

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Children's Literature - Amanda MacGregor
Ranging from amulets to wreaths (with plenty of interesting things in between), this book explores the many facets of death. Organized alphabetically like an encyclopedia, it includes brief paragraphs which cover a range of issues relating to death. Those looking to learn about what happens to a body after death can read about autopsies, burial, embalming, cremation, and rigor mortis. Issues like the death penalty, euthanasia, genocide, murder, suicide, and war are also presented. Noyes investigates philosophical and religious questions about souls, life after death, Heaven, Hell, and reincarnation. Some of the more interesting passages focus on a history of Halloween, vampires and zombies, and funerary rites. Some entries tell brief and engrossing stories, such as that of the Fox sisters, who, in 1848, claimed they could communicate with spirits. Noyes views death from the standpoint of many different religions and cultures, explaining things such as death masks, karma, limbo, mummies, nirvana, shiva, and Valhalla. Almost all of the sturdy, glossy pages include photographs, illustrations, and reproductions of artwork. A bibliography of books, articles, and websites is included, as is an index. Beautiful endpapers filled with famous people's observations about death make this comprehensive book fascinating from start to finish. Reviewer: Amanda MacGregor
VOYA - Rachel Wadham
The fact that everyone will die is one of the few certainties of life. Since the beginning of time, human cultures have shaped folklores, philosophies, traditions, beliefs, and artwork around the mysteries of death. Although the topic of mortality might be considered scary or even taboo, human beings are curious, and the complex facts surrounding the subject form the basis for many unanswered questions. This distinctive work may help to satisfy young adults' basic curiosity about death and everything that comes along with it. Exposing an amazing amount of information about matters ranging from afterlife to assassination, forensic science to funeral foods, and spirit photography to symbols, each entry covers its complex topic in great depth. The encyclopedic format allows for comprehensive exploration as related topics are noted at the end of each entry. The extent of the coverage for each topic across time, cultures, and belief systems is unique and gives broad appeal to the subject matter. The majority of the text is dry and emotionless, but there is good information here that will support discovery for projects, extended reading of other works, or personal interest. The work is illustrated with excellent photographs and artwork, but a major weakness here is that many of the photographs are not identified and just serve to add ambiance to the text. Despite its weaknesses, this encyclopedia will fill a unique niche for most library collections. Reviewer: Rachel Wadham
School Library Journal

Gr 6-10

Just as epicurean geology professor Dr. William Buckland is said to have eaten the embalmed heart of French King Louis XIV, students will devour Noyes's new book. Chock-full of fascinating facts, this is an alphabetically arranged compendium of enthralling yet easy-to-understand entries from "Amulet" to "Exhumation" to "Widow Sacrifice." The encyclopedic style renders the scope much less daunting than a straight narrative, as students can digest a bit at a time without getting lost. Readers will enjoy learning how bees and animal entrails have been used to predict the future, how mummies were embalmed in ancient Egypt, and how spirit photographers attempted to capture images of the souls of the dearly departed. The book is both comprehensive and compulsively readable, and even the most reluctant readers will find themselves caught up in the vivid descriptions and colorful photos and reproductions. A visually pleasing and attention-grabbing offering.-Kelly McGorray, Glenbard South High School, Glen Ellyn, IL

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618823628
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
12/15/2008
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
7.80(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Meet the Author


Deborah Noyes writes for children and adults and is a photographer, editor, and former zookeeper. To learn more about her books and photography, and for playlists of her favorite music, visit hauntedplaylist.blogspot.com. Ms. Noyes lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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