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Australian Ways of Death: A Social and Cultural History, 1840-1918, by Pat Jalland; pp. 380. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2002, $55.00 Australian, $65.00.
The academic literature on death, dying, and loss from the social sciences in Australia is modest by comparison with its counterparts in the United States or Britain. That observation alone is indication enough of the strength that masculinist, materialist, and bourgeois values have had on national research and writing priorities. Pat Jalland's work must be seen against the infancy of Australian efforts on this topic.
In her highly detailed and nuanced work, she identifies a uniquely Australian experience of death, dying, and loss in the period between 1840 and 1918. Furthermore, unlike that offered by many of her counterparts in Britain and Europe, Jalland's history is not merely an account of the bourgeoisie's encounter with death. To be sure, …