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August 2016 Vol. 53 No. 12

Beacon Press

The following review appeared in the August 2016 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email


2015-25729 CIP
Neumann, Ann. The good death: an exploration of dying in America. Beacon Press, 2016. 240p bibl index afp ISBN 9780807080627, $26.95; ISBN 9780807080634 ebook, contact publisher for price.

A regular contributor to a number of periodic publications, Neumann (visiting scholar, Center for Religion and Media, New York Univ.) brings a journalist's eye to her journey through the personalities and politics that shape discussions of end-of-life issues in the US.  She does not present the debates over these issues; she offers stories of people who are involved in these circumstances, on a personal level and/or political level.  She recounts her own father's death at home and how that experience shaped her work; she also talks about her work as a hospice volunteer, giving readers a taste of that growing part of end-of-life care.  She speaks to those in states that have legalized assisted suicide and examines the feelings and personalities that animate the respect life movement.  She writes of her friendship with the leader of a group calling itself Not Dead Yet, a disabilities rights organization that believes that laws that permit assisted suicide threaten the disabled.  In sum, this is a moving portrait of the ethical issues around end-of-life care, a portrait told through stories that give the subject a poignancy often lacking in such discussions.  Readers will be informed by this sensitive and at times moving book.

--A. W. Klink, Duke University

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers.