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Print Reviews

"[A] practical, powerful and affirming book. "

— Publishers Weekly, starred review


“[T]he best book about burial practices since Jessica Mitford's 1963 blockbuster, The American Way of Death. . . . Grave Matters contains no-nonsense information that will change everything you thought you knew about funerals and dying in America. It is essential and highly recommended.”

— Tucson Citizen (Arizona)


“[A]n intelligent look at a delicate subject . . . informative and surprisingly uplifting.”

— Washington Post


“The signature book on the green burial trend.”

— Kevin Miller, Bangor Daily News


“Indisputably the bible of any natural death care advocate.”

— Sharon Nichols, Chronogram


"Grave Matters is a beautifully written narrative journey that documents how an intrepid few are opening some closed doors, getting rid of the toxic embalming fluids and polished caskets, and allowing people to leave their bodies with dignity. . . . . [P]acked with practical green burial information."

— E: The Environmental Magazine


“For anyone looking into death, I recommend . . . Grave Matters.”

— Dan Neil, Los Angeles Times Magazine


"Harris just may open up entirely new discussions among family members whenever the topic of burial is broached. . . . [A] well-organized, valuable resource for anyone considering the disposition of their own or a loved one’s earthly remains."

Booklist, starred review


“The manifesto of the [green burial] movement.”

— Robert King, Indianapolis Star


"The one book you should truly read before you die. From the modern burial to the green burial (and everything in between), we're treated to the intimate details; some that will shock, some that will enlighten, and others that will simply make you reconsider everything you thought you knew about death."

— Groovy Green / Read the complete review


Advance Praise

"As the researcher for Jessica Mitford's The American Way of Death Revisited, I have bookcases filled with nearly twenty years of information on this subject. Not one of those books covers so much, so succinctly and with such grace as this one does. Bravo."

— Karen Leonard, director The Mitford Institute


"Anyone who reads Mark Harris' straight-forward account of Americans who are taking back control of funeral rituals will come away inspired. The families in Grave Matters remind us what funerals are really for. No amount of money, no conspicuous funerary consumption, can buy the satisfaction of honoring our dead in a truly personal way."

— Josh Slocum, executive director, Funeral Consumers Alliance


"Educated consumers are taking back control of the funeral experience, saving thousands of dollars with options that are more personal, meaningful, and environmentally-friendly. Mark Harris is a gifted story-teller; Grave Matters will surely provoke much-needed family discussions of these important issues."

— Lisa Carlson, author, Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love


“Here’s a practical, helpful book on a subject you've almost certainly given too little thought to. I'd always told my friends to carry my body out back in the woods in a canvas sack--but Mark Harris shows us there may be more creative ways than that to avoid the clutches of the funeral industry and help the earth at the same time.”

— Bill McKibben, author, Deep Economy


"Death happens. And when it does, you and your family will want to be prepared. Mark Harris does us all a great service in weaving together stories and sound information that inspire, teach, and inform. This thoughtful guide walks you through all your options, [some of] which none of us had ten years ago."

— Mary Woodsen, co-founder and president, Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve