The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death

Jill Lepore. Knopf, $27.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-307-59299-6
In the 19th century, a Milton Bradley version of the British board game the Mansion of Happiness (known in recent decades as Life) became an enduring staple of American homes. The game raised in a playful way three perennial questions: how does life begin? what does it mean? and what happens when you’re dead? With her characteristically sharp-edged humor and luminous storytelling, Harvard historian and New Yorker writer Lepore (New York Burning) regales us with stories that follow the stages of life (“begin[ning] with the unborn and end[ing] with the undead”) in an attempt to explore how cultural responses to the questions have changed over time. This journey takes us to unexpected places: for instance, the practicality, politics, and ethics of breast pumps, and cryogenics as a form of resurrection. Through these stories, Lepore shows that as fertility rates changed and as life expectancies rose, the history of life and death, long viewed as circular (“ashes to ashes, dust to dust”) became more linear, incorporating even secular ideas about immortality. Lepore’s inspired commentary on our shared social history offers a fresh approach to our changing views of life and death. Agent: Tina Bennett, Janklow & Nesbit. (July)
Reviewed on: 03/26/2012
Release date: 06/05/2012
Show other formats
FORMATS
MP3 CD - 978-1-4558-8510-7
Paperback - 282 pages - 978-0-307-47645-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-4558-8278-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-4558-8275-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-4558-8276-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4558-8273-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-4558-8277-9
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4558-9431-4
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-307-95850-1
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-06974-9
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.