Renowned Harvard scholar and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore has composed a strikingly original, ingeniously conceived, and beautifully crafted history of American ideas about life and death from before the cradle to beyond the grave. How does life begin? What does it mean? What happens when we die? ''All anyone can do is ask,'' Lepore writes. ''That's why any history of ideas about life and death has to be, like this book, a history of curiosity.'' Lepore starts that history with the story of a seventeenth-century Englishman who had the idea that all life begins with an egg and ends it with an American who, in the 1970s, began freezing the dead. In between, life got longer, the stages of life multiplied, and matters of life and death moved from the library to the laboratory, from the humanities to the sciences. Lately, debates about life and death have determined the course of American politics. Each of these debates has a history. Investigating the surprising origins of the stuff of everyday life - from board games to breast pumps - Lepore argues that the age of discovery, Darwin, and the space age turned ideas about life on earth topsy-turvy. ''New worlds were found,'' she writes, and ''old paradises were lost.'' As much a meditation on the present as an excavation of the past, The Mansion of Happiness is delightful, learned, and altogether beguiling.
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by Jill Eileen Smith
by Jill Lepore
by Eleanor Roosevelt, Jill Lepore
by Jill Stamm, Paula Spencer
by Raymond Sarlot, Fred E. Basten
by Jill Shalvis
by Jill Churchill
by Jill Konrath
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"Jill Lapore has written an engaging and enlightening book on historical American attitudes toward life and death, and it deserves attention. Lapore, a regular NEW YORKER contributor, writes for the educated general reader. But perhaps her producers felt her subject needed some enlivening. Coleen Marlo is a skilled performer, but she infuses every phrase with expression--here a roll of the "r," there a breathy Jackie Onassis whisper. She's an electric keyboard to Lapore's acoustical guitar. Her rendering is serviceable, and after a time one grows accustomed to its unrelenting expressiveness. But for this title, the recommendation is for the written text. D.A.W. (c) AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine"
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