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When I Die: Lessons from the Death Zone Hardcover – 19 Apr 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (19 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140870398X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408703984
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 139,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

It is odd to call a book written by someone who knows they are dying uplifting and exhilarating. But such a book is Philip Gould's When I Die . . . What makes this book exciting, challenging and rewarding is his deeply personal account of how courage overcame fear; how he found in the incoming of mortality a fresh and invigorating purpose in life . . . Philip was always a great writer . . . This is a book that will give you pleasure and peace (Tony Blair New Statesman)

The book's power comes from the urgency and simplicity of the message . . . At a time when few of us know how to face the inevitability of our own extinction, Gould has provided an admirable model (Jenni Russell Sunday Times)

This was a brave man . . . In the old days, they used to say the dead always send a gift back as they leave us, so we should watch out for it. That is what happened here (Richard Holloway The Times, Book of the Week)

I read it in one sitting, and conclude that it should really be prescribed on the NHS. Even though it's a short and harrowing account of one man's dying, it also is the most life-enhancing book I've ever read (Rachel Johnson The Lady)

In politics, as in life, purpose is all. Nobody understood that better than the late Labour strategist Philip Gould . . . An extraordinarily moving book . . . inspiring in its discussion of mortality; it is also a manual for those undertaking any task, political or otherwise, and trying to make sense of it to themselves and to others (Matthew D’Ancona Daily Telegraph)

Book Description

Written during the last few months of Philip Gould's life, this is a hugely inspiring and ultimately uplifting look at his 'lessons from the death zone'

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Waddington on 22 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In his forward to When I Die editor Keith Blackmore describes the book by Philip Gould as his last great campaign. It's a campaign that pushes hard against the taboos of cancer treatment and death and asks us to appreciate those around us.

The book describes Gould's four-year journey with cancer in his own words with insight from his wife and children. It should be deeply depressing. It's anything but. It's a life-affirming story about a family and friendships. Gould battles with cancer to the end yet accepts and prepares for his own death completely.

It isn't an easy read. You will cry. But it is compelling. I read it over two evenings late into the night and early morning. I couldn't put it down. In time I'll re-read it again. Its a book I want to reflect upon and come back too. Georgina and Grace Gould's description of their final months, weeks and days with their father as he faces death are intense and heart breaking.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Author on 18 Jun. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. By chance, I read a review of it in "The Times" and was intrigued enough to buy it. I didn't know what to expect but I wasn't disappointed.
Philip Gould tells the majority of his story about the cancer that ended his life in his own words ~ although it is left to his beloved family to tie up the loose ends after his demise. He was an excellent and compelling writer and he was brave enough to explore how the impending approach of his own death focused his mind and changed him as a person. He said himself, the aim of the book is to 'change the narrative about dying'. It certainly did that.
I have lost several much loved and important people in my own life to cancer ~ and reading Philip's book enabled me to understand some of the decisions that they made in their own dying process. It was if I suddenly understood, as if someone had turned on the light in a darkened room. For that I am grateful. I am also a cancer survivor ~ having been diagnosed with Chondrosarcoma (a rare primary bone cancer) in 1995.
We must all die someday ~ so read this book whilst you have time to ponder upon it and change your own approach to your inevitable death. I have just bought a copy of a previous book that Philip wrote before he was ill ~ I want to know more about the man.
RIP Philip. I wish I had been lucky enough to meet you whilst you were alive.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By catasha on 20 May 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book fundamentally takes the fear out of death. But also, what it does do, is stress the worth of living. Not to squander time or health. As a person who has lived through serious illness,I feel that Phillip Gould captured the detail of pain and the boring endless tripping on drugs you get in this situation. And how time shrinks and lengthens according to emotional states. Brilliant, I admire him and his family for doing this book.I only hope when my time comes I can conquer the fear as he seemed to do near his own time. A must read no matter your age or health.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Isabelle on 11 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Fastidious attention has gone into the composition of this skilfully presented book. It recounts Philip Gould's fight for life against an invading oesophageal cancer. His message was that the power of the human spirit has the capacity to overcome the hurdles of fear and pain. Sadly he lost his battle and was confronted with a shockingly short life expectation. Inspired by a new sense of purpose he reasoned that by sharing his experiences of "Death Zone" he could help to transform people's perceptions of death and dying. This intense experience, felt at many levels, took him to a different state of being, to a new level of intimacy with his family and to a sense of fulfilment and peace.
Unlike the average patient, Philip Gould, a political strategist with sharp intellect, travelled in a privileged position as one of the political elite. He could chose his treatment plan, moving between private and NHS care and selecting top flight practitioners. His last hours were spent in the Marsden in a private room with his family around him listening to Gregorian chants. An array of oncology specialists were on call.
This was his last big project, his "game plan on the matter of his death and dying" and he threw all his energy into it. His family were given papers and instructions about the completion of his book and his funeral ("he wanted the church to be packed") was organised. His photograph taken on his burial cite at Highgate Cemetery was placed in the Times newspaper. His last great strategy was magnificently managed and executed in splendid style.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr. P. J. Rowlands on 17 May 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a moving account of a gradual acceptance of and preparation for impending death. The author describes how in confronting and accepting the inevitable he also develops a keener appreciation of life and its joys. There is a danger that in reading this one will get the impression that prognosis can be more accurately predicted than is the case in reality - not everyone will be so fortunate to be able to prepare so fully- but it does lend hope and inspiration to those similarly entering ' the death zone'. This is almost in the same league as 'C, because coward get cancer too', though I think John Diamond's insights are hard to match and I would consider these both as essential reading for all medical student who, in doing so, will gain invaluable insights and a more holistic understanding of the patient's final journey. (I'm concerned that most doctors have an excessively Biomedical approach to death and dying to the detriment of their patients)
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