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How We Die [Kindle Edition]

Sherwin B Nuland
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

There are many books intended to help people deal with the trauma of bereavement, but few which explore the reality of death itself. How We Die sets out to explain exactly what happens to each of us when we die. Sherwin B. Nuland - with over 30 years' experience as a surgeon - explains in detail the processes which take place in the body and strips away many illusions about death. The result is a unique and compelling book, addressing the one final fact that all of us must confront.


Product Description

About the Author

Sherwin B. Nuland teaches surgery and the history of medicine at Yale. He is the author of Doctors: The Biography of Medicine. His new book, The Wisdom of the Body, is published by Chatto & Windus.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 532 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (16 Nov. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004CJ8QCE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #23,478 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasuring guide to how our bodies fail. 16 Oct. 2000
By MSU VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Ok, so it sounds morbid, a commentary on the many ways our bodies stop working at the end of our lives but it realy isn't. Proffesor Nuland writes with compassion and expalins in detail the connections between the different parts of our bodies in such a way that makes you feel quite unfased about death. The understanding takes away from the fear of dying and I would highly reccomend this book to anyone afraid for what's going to happen.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I read 'How we die' on a long journey and it moved me to tears - the only book that I can recall having done so. Nuland writes in a clinical, authoritative way about some of the 'most popular' ailments from which we in rich countries die in his quest to establish what makes for 'a good death'. With a writing style that is erudite yet punctuated with humour,he proposes the thesis that, for most of us, a death surrounded by loved ones, preceded by heartfelt expressions of love for one another and remorse for past wrongs, is a chimera. We are much more likely to suffer painful, undignified, drawn out deaths which might leave few good memories for those surviving us. He argues pursuasively, however, that the 'goodness' of our deaths is most fully established by the 'goodness' of our lives. When the sorrow of seeing a loved one die is gone, what can remain are the memories of a life lived full of joy, of adventure, of love.
I want everyone to read this beautiful, understated book and reflect on their own mortality and on the memories that they will leave behind.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book For Everyman 20 Nov. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I can't quite recall how I stumbled across Sherwin B. Nuland's 'How We Die', I'm only grateful that I did! On the back cover there's a quote by Doris Lessing (1994 Edition): 'Everyone over the age of fifty should have this book...' I would add to that, 'And everyone forty-nine and under!' In my humble opinion 'How We Die' is a hugely important and essential work.

Dying is an often painful process that has very little to do with dignity, Nuland constantly reminds us. And it's something we all have to deal with. Nuland, a qualified surgeon, takes us through the process of death and dying, explaining in great detail, how the body shuts down when ravaged by such diseases as AIDS, cancer, and strokes.

'How We die' is a very honest account that pulls no punches. Part autobiography, sometimes technical, and part critique, with extracts from history and literature, it's a wonderfully balanced and engaging book, brimming with compassion, wisdom, and humour in equal portions. Nuland's description of death in 'old age' is really quite something, as Death's horsemen slowly come and claim their victims. However, Nuland also airs his misgivings about modern technology and medicine, and the lack of ethics sometimes shown by his fellow practitioners when prolonging life in the face of the inevitable (although he states with much regret that he himself has been a culprit of such practice in the past, owing to peer pressure and the hippocratic oath).

It would be doing the book a big disservice to say that it is all about distress and despair, because it's not! It's about learning to live more fully, and taking control of our lives so that we can make more informed decisions when our date with destiny finally does arrive...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, not morbid 26 July 2011
By Nathan
Format:Paperback
The book 'How We Die' by Sherwin B. Nuland, at face value seems to be morbid and distasteful. However, being interested in how the body works makes this an informative read.

The book is separated into chapters based on a specific ailment; heart disease, stroke etc. Dr Nuland displays an even mix of both technical jargon and well written prose. With this careful balance he manages to not confuse the reader and yet he doesn't have to 'dumb it down' too much.

Overall this book is suitable for anyone interested in the human body or those who just want to know more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I don't usually recommend books, but... 12 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I noticed Dr.Nuland's obituary in Time magazine, and from that, opted to get this for my Kindle. I wasn't able to put it down...Nuland described with the most elegant prose pieces of his life and work, and has provided an empathetic and sensitive view of how and why we die. Yes, the topic sounds morbid, perhaps, but if this won't ever apply to you, then don't bother with this book. On the other hand, if you think there is such a thing as a dignified death, and you want to get around to speaking to your doctor about that event, then make sure you do bother. I recommended it immediately to mine, and he was quick to get it. One day, it may make your personal philosophy more understandable to both of you. That Nuland was a notable physician is a given, but that he was touched with greatness when it came to articulating feelings of both doctor and patient. Yes, I'd recommend this to anyone in the medical field, of course, but moreover to anyone who has not come to grips with the issues of their own mortality.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, if you would like to know 10 Jan. 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is most interesting though it was not quite what I was expecting. I thought it would be more of what happens spiritually however it was very well and sympathetically written and I learned lots.
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