A Commonsense Book of Death: Reflections at Ninety of a Lifelong Thanatologist (Hardback)
  • A Commonsense Book of Death: Reflections at Ninety of a Lifelong Thanatologist (Hardback)
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A Commonsense Book of Death: Reflections at Ninety of a Lifelong Thanatologist (Hardback)

(author)
£65.00
Hardback 208 Pages / Published: 03/10/2008
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Thirty-five years ago, in 1973, the author, then in the middle of life, age 55, wrote Deaths of Man, a set of essays about death. The book was nominated for the National Book Award in Science and recently the American Psychological Association selected it as a "classic" and provided a retrospective review. Now, in 2008 the author, age 90, revisits some of his original concepts with the experience of thirty-five years of clinical perspective and personal travail and what it is to face his own death. This book touches on provocative topics such as some proposed criteria for a good death, a variety of ways in which we seek to survive our own death in our postself; the world-wide coarsening of death, and a chapter on suicide in which the author discusses his theory that the black heart of suicide is psychological pain. The book contains ideas like subintentioned death in which the individual, unbeknownst to the self, plays an indirect, unconscious role in bringing the death date forward. Perhaps the most dramatic feature of this new revision is an essay by the author's psychotherapist (about what he was like as patient discussing his own death). It is an essay which the author will not have seen.

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9780742563315
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 445 g
Dimensions: 239 x 161 x 21 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
A Commonsense Book of Death is not to be missed. Dr. Shneidman takes us on a journey through death's possibilities, its probabilities, like the soulful guide he is, like the very great teacher he is. It is a pleasure to take a walk through these dark woods with someone who can light up the shadows so brightly and so lovingly. -- Judy Collins
Always inventive, constantly creative and entertaining, the honored professor of thanatology and founding father of suicidology reveals, at age ninety, how it feels to be Edwin Shneidman, intimately involved now in life's last phase. -- Robert E. Litman, Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center
Ever the Captain, Edwin Shneidman grabs the oars on this journey down the river Styx. With greater staying power than his Requiem suggests, Ed's pen is mightier than the scythe. -- Kita S. Curry, Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center
Thomas Paine published Common Sense anonymously, in fear of retribution from monarchy loyalists. Nevertheless, it was an instant best seller and sparked a revolution. Ed Shneidman's A Commonsense Book of Death lays bare his insight, his wisdom, even his psychotherapy to lead us to revolutionary ways of understanding and coming to terms with the end of life. This book sparks deep reflection and great comfort. -- Alan Berman, American Association of Suicidology
Dr. Shneidman is the Durkheim of contemporary suicidology. As a Japanese psychiatrist (and a devoted Shneidmanian), I enthusiastically recommended this extraordinary book to all those who wish to improve their insights into the nature of death itself. -- Yoshitomo Takahashi, National Defense Research Institute, Tokyo
This beautifully crafted work by Dr. Shneidman is more than a compilation of his life's stunning work. It breathes life into death and has everyone reading it thinking about his or her own postself. Thank you Ed! -- Richard I. Ridenour, U.S. Navy, Medical Corps, Retired
It used to be said that all one needed to raise a baby was an actual infant and a copy of Benjamin Spock's book on child care. Perhaps now, concerning the other end of life, we can venture the thought that if you are an aging person all you need to gain a better death is your own aging body and a copy of Shneidman's A Commonsense Book of Death. The author's lofty goal seems to be no less than to tame death. He attempts to do this by making death a legitimate topic for academic inquiry and then discussing it, reasonably, in a commonsense way, as though it were no more frightening that raising a baby. If you are mortal you will want to chew on this extraordinary book. -- Janet McCord, director, program in thanatology, Marian University
At ninety, the most brilliant scholar in thanatology and suicidology is giving us a book flourishing in intellectual power and deep humanity. In this book, the private Edwin Shneidman merges with the professional expert on death and dying, disclosing his reflections about his own end of life process as well as an essay from his current psychotherapist. I was very moved. -- Gudrun Dieserud, Norwegian Institute of Public Health
This volume touches the very heart of human existence, especially what a good-enough death might be like. This passionate book is the fruit of one of the most emblematic characters in the scientific approach to death and dying. Although this book is about death, it is a true gift from life. -- Maurizio Pompili, Sapienza University of Rome

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