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BOOK REVIEWS A Manual of Simple Burial. Edited by Ernest Morgan. Burnsville, N.C.: Celo Press, 1966. Pp. 64. $1.00, The high cost of burial has been agitating Americans for a good many years. Somehow an ornate burial is believed to confer status. Chicago gangsters used to spend well over $10,000, and even up to $25,000, for the interment ofany recognized members of the fraternity. In Russia, according to the writings ofIrving Levine, and verified for me by the dean of the medical school in Moscow, an ornate funeral is definitely one ofthe few ways in which status can be demonstrated. This manual has been prepared by an organization devoted to reasonableness in burial costs and is designed also to aid the development ofbanks oftissues for useful purposes. It urges people to plan for the costs offunerals and indicates how these may be met by social security and prepayment. My secretary reminds me of the slogan, "Pay now, go later." Planning also requires the purchase ofa burial place. A special section concerns funeral directors, who used to be called undertakers, and who would rather be called morticians. Apparently the unions are becoming somewhat disturbed over the large amounts taken from the welfare funds for burial costs. The organization of memorial societies into a national association is a step in the direction ofa nation-wide movement for improving existing conditions. Attention is called to cremation, eye banks, bone banks, and the bequeathal ofbodies to schools of medicine and dentistry. The work also concerns the bequeathal of bodies ofyoung people for radiation research. Morris Fishbein, M.D. 5454 South Shore Drive Chicago, Illinois 60615 135 ...


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