Abuse of consumers by the funeral industry has only worsened in the decades since Jessica Mitford’s landmark expose The American Way of Death. But a funeral consumer movement is awakening, as Joshua Slocum explains in a discussion of his book Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death.
As with natural childbirth and hospice care, Americans are asserting their right to take charge of this major event in their lives. Many still want the help of a funeral director – but to assist, not direct. And many are handling it themselves with home burials, green burials, or direct arrangements with a crematory.
Slocum is executive director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, a nonprofit organization with over 90 affiliates throughout the U.S.