This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in this book. The book sweeps death under the carpet, what Geoffrey Gorer termed the Pornography of Death, which made it the subject of jokes and fascination. Times of death and bereavement are times when people need people and the mere presence of another person who cares is important. Traditional mourning customs have been largely abandoned and the rituals of cremation or burial of the dead have lost much of the emotional significance which, in the past, often made them a source of support for the bereaved rather than an ordeal. Modern society had created a new myth and new priests and acolytes to maintain the illusion that people could live forever. By showing positive cultural appreciation, people may contribute to make death a transcendent event for those who die and those who survive. Western cultures, which tend to discourage the overt expression of emotion at funerals, are deviant.