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Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End (Paperback)Atul Gawande (author)
Interrogating perceptions of ageing and theories of medical progress, Being Mortal is both a touching medical memoir and an eye-opening history of our ever-changing relationship with death.
Our July 2015 Waterstones Non-Fiction Book of the Month.
For most of human history, death was a common, ever-present possibility. It didn't matter whether you were five or fifty - every day was a roll of the dice. But now, as medical advances push the boundaries of survival further each year, we have become increasingly detached from the reality of being mortal.
So here is a book about the modern experience of mortality - about what it's like to get old and die, how medicine has changed this and how it hasn't, where our ideas about death have gone wrong.
With his trademark mix of perceptiveness and sensitivity, Atul Gawande outlines a story that crosses the globe, as he examines his experiences as a surgeon and those of his patients and family, and learns to accept the limits of what he can do. Never before has aging been such an important topic. The systems that we have put in place to manage our mortality are manifestly failing; but, as Gawande reveals, it doesn't have to be this way. The ultimate goal, after all, is not a good death, but a good life - all the way to the very end.
Published in partnership with the Wellcome Collection, a free visitor destination that explores the connections between medicine, life and art.
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 243 g
Dimensions: 194 x 126 x 18 mm
'An impassioned, broad-ranging and deeply personal exploration' - The Guardian
'Medicine, Being Mortal reminds us, has prepared itself for life but not for death. This is Atul Gawande's most powerful, and moving, book' - Malcolm Gladwell
'Dr Gawande writes very well, his book Is deeply humane and I learnt much from it' - Theodor Dalrymple, The Times
'In this eloquent, moving book Atul Gawande ... explains how and why modern medicine has turned the end of life into something so horrible ... Many passages in Being Mortal will bring a lump to the throat, but Dr Gawande also visits places offering a better way to manage life's end' - The Economist
'We have come to medicalize aging, frailty and death, treating them as if they were just one more medical problem to overcome. It is not just medicine that is needed in one's declining years, but life -a life with meaning, a life as rich and full as possible under the circumstances. Being Mortal is not only wise and deeply moving; it is an essential and insightful book for our times, as one would expect from Atul Gawande, one of our finest physician writers.' - Oliver Sacks
'It is rare to read a book that sparks so much hard thinking. In my case, it has opened to door to discussions with close relatives about how they wish to spend their final days - conversations that we should surely all be having, however difficult they are to start' - Linda Geddes, The New Scientist
'Gawande is hoping to change the medical profession, not human nature, and to do so in a way that is important to us all. His book is so impressive that one can believe that it may well contribute to that end... May it be widely read and inwardly digested' - Diana Athill, The Financial Times
'Atul Gawande's wise and courageous book raises the questions that none of us wants to think about...Gawande's concern and dedication shine from every page... that alliance of human feeling with medical knowledge aptly symbolises this remarkable book' - John Carey, The Sunday Times
'This humane and beautifully written book is a manifesto that could radically improve the lives of the aged and the terminally ill' - Leyla Sanai, Independent
'It is to his tremendous credit that Gawande has turned his attention to mortality. We need people of such outstanding intelligence and compassion to consider the ever-growing problems associated with our ageing population.' - Cressida Connolly, The Spectator
'His latest book, written with is customary warmth and panache, is a plea to the medical profession and the rest of us to shift away from simply fighting for longer life towards fighting for the things that make life meaningful' - Geraldine Bedell, The Observer
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A beautiful and thought provoking consideration of the end of life. This book is so, so much more than a review of end of life care.
I am an avid reader of Gawande’s books and have enjoyed them all but… I would say... More
A passionate and thoughtful treatise on how we approach death and the dying, old age and terminal illness. The end comes to us all eventually but is the way modern medicine treats dying people really in the best... More
“Very interesting read”
I am so glad I read this book, it was thought provoking and made me think about how important well being is as well as medicine. Highly recommended.
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