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Books on Dying and Death

Books about Dying, Death, Funerals and Memorial Celebrations

 There are three main categories:

  • reflection on dying, death and the human condition
  • practical resources for dealing with death and funerals
  • anthologies of poems and prose, and model ceremonies

 This list is only a small selection of available material.  A great number of books and pamphlets to assist individual understanding of palliative care and bereavement, two major topics of modern interest, can be found in bookstores (in the high street and on the internet).  Useful organisations to contact are given in all the books.  A short list of useful books can be found on our Bibliography page.


Death, Dying & Bereavement

Dickinson, Johnson, & Katz, Eds   Sage Publishers/Open University, London, 2000   ISBN 0-7619-6857-1

A classic compilation giving information about research and practice, and including stories and reflections

Death & Bereavement

Dewi Rees,  Whurr Publishers, London, 2001 (2nd edition),   ISBN 1-86156-223-3

The psychology of death and bereavement in the context of the major religions and their mourning and funeral customs, and the work of psychiatry in more recent times

Living Life to the Full

Una Kroll,   Continuum, London, 2006,   ISBN 0-8264-8079-9

The experience of a doctor who is also a priest dealing honestly with the realities of the less attractive aspects of getting older for some people

The Meanings of Death

John Bowker,   CambridgeUniversity Press, 1993,   ISBN 0-521-44773-9

The points of vital contact between religious and secular attitudes and understandings of death

The Dying Soul

Mark Cobb,   Open University Press, Buckingham, 2001,   ISBN 0-335-20053-2

An exploration of the concepts, issues and practical implications of spirituality especially in relation to cancer and palliative care

Death, Ritual and Belief

Douglas J Davies,   Continuum, London, 2002,   ISBN 0-8264-5484-4

An anthropological approach to theological, philosophical and psychological perspectives on death and theories of grief

Death in England

Jupp & Gittings, Eds,   ManchesterUniversity Press, Manchester, 1999,   ISBN 0-7190-5811-2

A social history of death from earliest times to that of Princess Diana dealing with attitudes, practices and beliefs through the ages

On Bereavement: The Culture of Grief

Tony Walter,   Open University Press, Buckingham, 1999,   ISBN 0-335-20080-X

Explores the social position of the bereaved seeking guidelines in a de-ritualised society

A Good Death

Leveson Paper Number Four, 2003,   The Leveson Centre, TempleBalsall, Knowle, B93 0AL

An accessible set of papers dealing with the notion of a ‘good death’ based on research and practice

Dying in Older Age

Tom Owen, Ed,   Help the Aged, London, 2005,   ISBN 1-904528-91-0

A moving collection of older people’s own views plus research findings and recommendations


What to Do When Someone Dies

Paul Harris,   Which? Books, London, 2005,   ISBN 1-84490-014-2

A first-class guide for anyone involved in advising others or dealing themselves with the practicalities

How to have a Good Death

Dorling Kindersley, London, 2006,   ISBN 1-4053-1629-2

The book of the BBC television production introduced by Esther Rantzen and giving guidance on how to prepare for death as well as what to do when someone dies

The Dead Good Funerals Book

Sue Gill and John Fox,   Engineers of the Imagination, Ulverston, 2004,   ISBN 0-9527-1590-2

An alternative guide dealing with self-help approaches to dealing with death, the dead and funeral arrangements

In Your Own Time

Elizabeth Lee,   OxfordUniversity Press, Oxford, 2002,   8                       

A guide for patients and their carers facing a last illness at home

Anthologies and model ceremonies (secular approaches)

Funerals without God

Jane Wynne Willson,   British Humanist Association, London, 1998,   ISBN 0-9018-2514-X

The standard reference for humanist funeral arrangements including suitable non-religious readings

Time to Go

Jean Francis,   iUniverse, New York, 2004,   ISBN 0-595-31859-2

Alternative funerals described plus many references to useful resources

All in the End is Harvest

Agnes Whitaker, Ed,   Darton, Longman & Todd, London, 2004,   ISBN 0-232-51624-3

Poetry and prose to assist the bereaved produced under the auspices of the Cruse organisation

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