Top positive review
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The most thorough book on the subject. . .
on 7 March 1999
This is the definitive book on the subject, exhaustively researched, and yet quite readable...
As I read this book, I was struck that this is not so much about suicide, as about self-determination (something the Kirkus reviewer apparently missed). I began reading this out of a sense of professional obligation, but quickly found the book surprisingly interesting. There is a wealth of detail presented, with the solid and sobering information relieved by the often wickedly amusing (albeit occasionally warped) footnotes.
While the "how to" sections are quite graphic, the reader can readily find areas of interest through the clear chapter subheadings, and thereby skip those that might be either too gory or too technical. But the detail presented is here out of necessity-for how else can the individual make an informed decision?
This book clearly does not advocate suicide. It provides individuals with the information to make a better decision about their future. For example, if someone wishes to make a gesture, it gives them guidance about appropriate choices that will not leave them off in an even worse state.
As a physician, I was a bit put off by the author's criticism of docs. I think he underestimates the chilling effect the threat of professional criticism and repercussions has. Of course, there is also the effect fear of more serious legal action (eg charges of murder) has on the willingness of physicians to be more active in this area. This extends to efforts in the area of pain relief (such as by providing adequate doses of morphine) which are often inappropriately criticized as excessive. Also, as he notes, docs have been very poorly educated regarding pain control.
I highly recommend this thorough reference work, the most definitive work I have seen on this controversial subject. It is far more than a "how to" manual. It is both a reference book, as well as a thoughtful resource, providing objective information, historical information, and perspective on this difficult topic.