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Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying Paperback – 5 Apr 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Delta Trade Paperback; 3rd Revised edition (5 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385336535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385336536
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 106,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Derek Humphry was born in Bath, England, 04.29.1930 and brought up in a broken family. Despite a poor education, further damaged by six years of war, Derek determined to become a writer. Starting as a newspaper messenger boy on the Yorkshire Post at 15, he worked his way up as a reporter on the Bristol Evening World, the Manchester Evening News to the London Daily Mail, the London Sunday Times and finally the Los Angeles Times.

Always an advocacy journalist, Derek wrote books on race relations, police corruption and a biography of Michael X. For 'Because They're Black' he won the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize.

When the wife to whom he had been married for 22 years developed inoperable cancer, he nursed her for two years until she asked him to help her die. Close to the end, Jean chose to end her life with lethal drugs to avoid further suffering. In time, he married again and moved to America.

Derek published in l978 a little book Jean's Way describing Jean's final years and his part in helping her to die peacefully. It became a bestseller and was translated into major languages.

The public response to the book caused him to start the Hemlock Society USA in 1980 from his garage in Santa Monica. Hemlock's purpose was to help people in similar situations as Jean's and also to reform the laws to permit physician-assisted suicide.

Derek built Hemlock into a national organization, with 40,000 members and 80 chapters. In l991 he wrote 'Final Exit' - a 'how-to' book for the dying to bring their suffering to an end if they chose. To much surprise, it became a #1 bestseller within six months. It was translated into 12 languages. Random House keeps the 3rd edition of 'Final Exit' in print in 2010, and it is still in print in Spanish and Italian. USA TODAY in 2007 chose it as one of the most significant books of the past 25 years.

His latest book is a memoir --'Good Life, Good Death' -- covering 79 years of an eventful life -- ranging from an unusual childhood in a broken home, a father in prison, a mother who ran away to Australia, then experiencing an ugly war which started when he was nine. The book relates his remarkable experiences in journalism, outstanding interviews with famous people, and his struggle against racism. Derek immigrated to the USA at age 48.

The second half of the memoir deals with his impact on the right to die movement in America, starting and building the Hemlock Society for 12 years, and pioneering the Oregon Death With Dignity Act (l994), the first such physician-assisted suicide law in North America.

Proud to be a paperback writer, Derek has published 15 books in 40 years. Only two have been hardbacks.

Derek is president of the Euthanasia Research & Guidance Organization (ERGO), chairman of the advisory board of the Final Exit Network (successor to the now defunct Hemlock Society), and an advisor to the World Federation of Right to Die Societies, of which he has been president.

Although unlettered himself, Derek has been a guest lecturer at Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, USC, UCLA, University of Michigan, University of Chicago, and others.

In his book "A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America,' Ian Dowbiggin

writes: "Humphry ranks as one of the preeminent pioneers of the American euthanasia movement." (OUP. 2003. Page 149). In their book 'Dying Right', the authors Daniel Hillyard and John Dombrink write: "Derek Humphry is widely acknowledged to be the initiatior of the euthanasia reform movement in the United States." (Routledge NY 2001. Page 82.)

A citizen of the USA and UK, he lived in Los Angeles l978-88 and since then in western Oregon. He has been married to Gretchen (nee Crocker) since l991.
Updated 3 June 2010

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
This is the scenario: You are terminally ill, all medical treatments acceptable to you have been exhausted, and the suffering in its different forms is unbearable. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Kelly on 27 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Quite well written but still no "magic bullet". The means of "exiting" oneself outlined in this book sound thoroughly unpleasant - the recommended plastic bag aspect especially. Also not much hope for people who want to carry out the act alone (imagine watching the plastic bag episode) because for various reasons they may not wish (or have) a loved one to witness it. Frankly, I think Beachy Head would be preferable to the methods described here. The laws on assisted death and euthanasia generally must be changed, the sooner the better.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By serendipity on 27 April 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The problem with this book is it focuses too much on suicide by means of pharmaceutical drugs that are virtually impossible to obtain and makes the breathtakingly unbelieveable assumption that we all have doctors who will write a prescription for lethal drugs without a second thought and send us on our way with a smile and a wave.

Also the instruction for duping our doctors into giving us sleeping drugs is laughable. No way on Gods green earth would my doctor prescribe lethal sedatives for my insomnia, no matter how much I tried to con him, he is not that dumb and is very fond of his licence to practice certificate that adorns his office wall.

The book places great emphasis on the helium method, which is good, however, I would have liked to have seen a chapter devoted to death by charcoal from those cute disposable barbeques you can buy in the summer.

All in all, I have found that rather than buy this book google is a better more informative option with many websites out there giving better and more detailed advice.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By elsewhere on 16 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
Whilst not exactly a definitive srudy of this controversdial subject it is proably the best guide available to date. More needs saying, however: there are gaps in the instructions for some of the methods outlined (the use of helium particularly) that could be confusing - even dangerous - for some people. This is no area in which to be vague, or to take anything for granted, though to be fair there are stringent legal considerations once you get into the practical business of instructing people on how to end their own lives. Unfortunately, for me it raised as many questions as it answered, though using it in conjunction with the available DVD does help somewhat. A good book, nontheless.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By I. Wilson on 18 July 2011
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This book is NOT for the faint hearted. It's extremely serious and a very controversial and difficult subject to cover, both emotionally and technically. Before anyone thinks about ending their life, they should read Derek's book - thoroughly - at least twice! Most people in Britain believe euthanasia is a good thing (80% on the last poll) when someone's quality of life is so poor, that it really isn't worth continuing. Derek Humphry looks at different types of euthanasia and the pro's and cons of each, with emphasis on self deliverance, without the aid of someone else. He also looks at the legal side and implications for friends and relatives. He explains in great detail the self deliverance method, backed up by online videos and mock demonstrations. Derek also consider the emotional side and the psychology of ending life. If you, yourself are suffering with terminal or longterm illness, to the extent that life is no longer worth living, then I urge you to read this - if you can. If you are a friend or relative of someone in the same situation, who has, may be asked you to help them die, this book is also for you. Derek really does put everything about this subject into perspective.
I am so glad Derek published this book, both for the sake of my parents and for the knowledge that if I ever get to a state where quality of life is questionable, then I have the knowledge to peacefully and tranquilly end my life, without anyone in authority intervening, or without anyone breaking the law. Thank you Derek for publishing this Book and thank you for all the hard work you have done to allow people to make an informed and rational decision and to carry out something, that would otherwise have remained elusive to the public in general.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By stephen john lewis on 12 April 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A brave attempt by Derek Humphry to cover the ultimate taboo subject. He's obviously been blamed for suicides as he's set himself up as the primary target. For me, I know that it is comforting, to have a painless, effective alternative. When the time comes. Its unfortunate that this book is required reading for some of us.

Same review as for Philip Nitschke MD.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Howard Somerville on 19 Sept. 2009
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Suicide is a risky business, and easily bungled, potentially leaving one disabled and unable to try again - the worst possible outcome. The book advises on the safest and more reliable ways to do it, but also counsels on the necessity in many cases.

It is a sad, cruel situation that in our culture, a person may be forced to endure the drawn-out agony of a natural death, and the law prevents others from helping him. Keep this book; memorise its contents. It will be a comfort now and the knowledge could be invaluable one day.
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Originally a highly controversial book....now updated further down the line, when people are more comfortable discussing issues of terminal illness etc.....
An American book relevant and applicable to most world cultures
A quite short book in compact paperback format....and in large-ish clear print to assist any reader with eyesight problems
A book not afraid to illustrate and explain the practicalities of alternative techniques to end life as comfortably as possible
A book which, in earlier editions, opened up the realities of wishing to end life for valid reasons....and initiated careful discussions....thereby helping to avoid needless persecution, arrest and even imprisonment of people acting with the best of intention....
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