Annotations for Mansion of Happiness : A History of Life and Death


Baker & Taylor
A history of American ideas about life and death discusses how the age of discovery, Darwin's theories of evolution, and the space age changed ideas about life on Earth.

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Baker & Taylor
A history of American ideas about life and death from before the cradle to beyond the grave.

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Baker & Taylor
A history of American ideas about life and death includes coverage of topics ranging from the 17th-century Englishman who investigated a belief about life starting with eggs and the heated debates over Darwin's evolutionary findings to the role of the Space Age in changing views on planetary life to the 1970s trends in cryogenics. 35,000 first printing.

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Random House, Inc.
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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