10 books like Life and death in Spitalfields, 1700-1850

By Margaret Cox,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Life and death in Spitalfields, 1700-1850. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Come, Tell Me How You Live

By Agatha Christie Mallowan,

Book cover of Come, Tell Me How You Live

The title sums up what archaeologists are trying to do when they excavate a site. In this short book, Agatha Christie provides ‘an inconsequent chronicle’ of five archaeological field seasons in Mesopotamia in the 1930s, in the course of which she gently and wittily reveals a picture of the British working abroad between the Wars – a way of working that now seems as distant as the period she was uncovering.

Come, Tell Me How You Live

By Agatha Christie Mallowan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Come, Tell Me How You Live as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Agatha Christie's personal memoirs about her travels to Syria and Iraq in the 1930s with her archaeologist husband Max Mallowan, where she worked on the digs and wrote some of her most evocative novels.

Think you know Agatha Christie? Think again!

To the world she was Agatha Christie, legendary author of bestselling whodunits. But in the 1930s she wore a different hat, travelling with her husband, renowned archaeologist Max Mallowan, as he investigated the buried ruins and ancient wonders of Syria and Iraq. When friends asked what this strange `other life' was like, she decided to answer their questions by…


Death at Wolf’s Nick

By Diane Janes,

Book cover of Death at Wolf’s Nick: The Killing of Evelyn Foster

Everybody who has read this extraordinary book seems to have an overwhelming urge to discuss it with other people. It tells the true story of the murder of a young woman in 1931 in northern England, a death for which no-one was ever brought to trial. This is not just an unsolved mystery but deftly reveals what life was like in a north Northumberland town in the 1930s, as well as exposing how chaotic and class ridden policing was at the time.

Death at Wolf’s Nick

By Diane Janes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Death at Wolf’s Nick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In January 1931, on a lonely stretch of Northumberland road known as Wolf's Nick, flames rose up into the night sky from the neighbouring moorland.

Beyond help, Evelyn Foster lay engulfed in flames near her burning car, desperately hoping to be found by a passing vehicle.

With her last breath, she described her assailant: a mysterious man with a bowler hat who had asked her to drive him to the next village, then attacked her and left her to die.

What followed was a remarkable effort by some members of the police to track down Evelyn's killer while other members…


Felbrigg

By R W Ketton-Cremer,

Book cover of Felbrigg: The Story of a House

Although this is the story of a house from the early 17th century to the 1960s, it offers a fascinating insight into the lives of the four families who lived there in turn as they won and lost fortunes, married well and badly, and survived the events of history.

Felbrigg

By R W Ketton-Cremer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Felbrigg as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Womenfolks

By Shirley Abbott,

Book cover of Womenfolks: Growing Up Down South

A wittily written, powerful evocation of women’s lives in Arkansas from the 1930s to the 1980s, the history of how they got there and what made them such strong women. This is a revelation of family myth and tradition told fondly, yet with piercing pragmatism, in a way that provides insights into how we can understand women’s lives at all periods and in all places.

Womenfolks

By Shirley Abbott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Womenfolks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reflects on the experience of growing up female in the South, explaining the meaning of the southern heritage, the southern notion of the feminine ideal, and the reasons why southern women leave their roots.


Funeral Customs

By Bertram Puckle,

Book cover of Funeral Customs: Their Origin and Development

As I said before, I love history, and Puckle’s book gives the reader a great look into the why of our funeral customs. As in: why do we send funeral flowers? (To which Puckle offers the glib answer, “the half sovereign he paid for it save him from the mental exercise of composing a suitable letter of condolence” before offering a serious explanation). Sure, the book was published almost a century ago, but that has no bearing on the contents. It’s an evergreen book and a highly recommended read for serious funereal scholars or those considering a career in funeral service.

Funeral Customs

By Bertram Puckle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Funeral Customs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Puckle's "Funeral Customs" is one of the more in-depth looks at death ever penned. Created in the early 20th century, it casts a rational and skeptical glance at the superstitions of burial practices and cremation alike, and lists in some detail the customs of death over time and changes to them during the black death and then-modernity among other eras. Not just a European work, it delves into Hinduism as well as Egyptian and Zoroastrian practices from antiquity.

From the memento mori to funeral feasts, its pages are filled with interesting folklore, astonishing history, and more than a few bits…


Living with the Dead

By Nicola Harrington,

Book cover of Living with the Dead: Ancestor Worship and Mortuary Ritual in Ancient Egypt

Dr. Harrington offers an accessible yet meticulous overview of the role of the dead in ancient Egyptian society, with a general, but not exclusive, focus on the New Kingdom. Her book was published while I was just starting my dissertation and it was inspiring to see a project that dealt with similar themes being published. I admit, I also love this book because it was the first time someone ever made reference to me and my research in a footnote. It made me feel like my work was worthwhile and for that, I am eternally grateful to Dr. Harrington.    

Living with the Dead

By Nicola Harrington,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Living with the Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Living with the Dead presents a detailed analysis of ancestor worship in Egypt, using a diverse range of material, both archaeological and anthropological, to examine the relationship between the living and the dead. Iconography and terminology associated with the deceased reveal indistinct differences between the blessedness and malevolence and that the potent spirit of the dead required constant propitiation in the form of worship and offerings. A range of evidence is presented for mortuary cults that were in operation throughout Egyptian history and for the various places, such as the house, shrines, chapels and tomb doorways, where the living could…


The Cannibal Hymn

By Christopher Eyre,

Book cover of The Cannibal Hymn: A Cultural and Literary Study

Who doesn’t want to read about ancient Egyptian cannibalism? The title seems sensational, since no actual cannibalism is involved—at least as we might conceive of it in the world of the livingbut Eyre employs the standard designation for the specific spell in the Pyramid Texts, the oldest major corpus of religious texts to survive from antiquity. A reader new to ancient Egypt might well read the translation of the Cannibal Hymn at the beginning of the book and be utterly confused. By the end of the book, however, the secrets of this 4300 year old text, including its relationship to butchery rituals and the mundane aspects of animal husbandry, are revealed.

The Cannibal Hymn

By Christopher Eyre,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cannibal Hymn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The text of the Cannibal Hymn is here examined in its performative and cultural context. In its verbal recreation of a butchery ritual, style and format are typical of the oral-recitational poetry of pharaonic Egypt. It poses questions about the nature of rites of passage and rituals of sacrifice.


The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

By Jennifer E. Smith,

Book cover of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

I had to pick this book because it is air travel that brings Hadley and Oliver together. In this case, they are on a flight together to London where Hadley’s father is getting married after a difficult divorce from her mother. Hadley believes she is dealing with the worst possible thing, but she later learns what brings Oliver to London which is something far more difficult. It is the time on the plane when everything else fades away that draws me to this book. If they hadn’t ended up on the same flight, they never would have met.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

By Jennifer E. Smith,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Imagine if she hadn't fogotten the book. Or if there hadn't been traffic on the expressway. Or if she hadn't fumbled the coins for the toll. What if she'd run just that little bit faster and caught the flight she was supposed to be on. Would it have been something else - the weather over the atlantic or a fault with the plane?

Hadley isn't sure if she believes in destiny or fate but, on what is potentially the worst day of each of their lives, it's the quirks of…


The American Way of Death Revisited

By Jessica Mitford,

Book cover of The American Way of Death Revisited

This is the classic, the moment at which the industrialization of death—like so much else in our lives—was made visible. And it was the start of a social movement to reclaim death as part of our social, interconnected lives. Mitford focused on the funeral industry, and how it turned death into a commodity – ‘ashes’ isn’t a good word because people would scatter them, but call them ‘human remains’ and you can charge to put them somewhere. Death often makes people feel remorse, even guilt – ah! That can be ‘satisfied’ by the purchase of a fine funeral. 

Mitford closed the book with a call for a social movement: “Whether the narrow passageway to the unknown, which everybody must cross, will continue to be as cluttered and expensive to traverse as it is today, depends in the last analysis entirely on those travelers who have not yet reached it.” (p228)…

The American Way of Death Revisited

By Jessica Mitford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The American Way of Death Revisited as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Only the scathing wit and searching intelligence of Jessica Mitford could turn an exposé of the American funeral industry into a book that is at once deadly serious and side-splittingly funny. When first published in 1963, this landmark of investigative journalism became a runaway bestseller and resulted in legislation to protect grieving families from the unscrupulous sales practices of those in "the dismal trade."

Just before her death in 1996, Mitford thoroughly revised and updated her classic study. The American Way of Death Revisited confronts new trends, including the success of the profession's lobbyists in Washington, inflated cremation costs, the…


Good Mourning

By Elizabeth Meyer,

Book cover of Good Mourning

During the course of my work week, I get a lot of people telling me they currently are interested in the funeral profession, or if they are of retirement age, they were interested in their younger days. Which begs the question: how do you get started in the profession? Society-girl Meyer simply went in and asked for a job at an East-side funeral home after planning her own father’s funeral. The book details how she helped plan some amazing send-offs for the Big Apple’s rich and famous, and I think is a great how-to for “rolling your sleeves up and giving something a try.” I read somewhere that the experience motivated her to attend mortuary school. Fun read. 

Good Mourning

By Elizabeth Meyer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Good Mourning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Synopsis coming soon.......


5 book lists we think you will like!

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