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At the End of Life: True Stories About How We Die Paperback – March 27, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: In Fact Books; Original edition (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937163040
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937163044
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #286,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is an encouraging collection—not only in a very literal sense but also in the help it offers us in thinking about death, how clear it makes our lack of control over death (and so over life). The book is crammed with stories of parents, children, long-time patients, emergency cases, complete strangers. The dying are young, old, middle-aged, and, variously, brave, grumpy, accepting, difficult, defiant. The family and friends, doctors, nurses, EMTs, and chaplains who accompany them have a lot to say about what they’ve observed and learned and resolved to change. This is a valuable contribution to our store of works in the Medical Humanities that will likely cause both medical students and doctors to ponder new ways of dealing with their dying patients.” — Kathryn Montgomery, author of Doctors’ Stories and How Doctors Think

"A gripping and passionate account of how we face the final rite of passage. These stories mine the agility of the human spirit, and will not easily be forgotten." — Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, author of Medicine in Translation and Singular Intimacies

About the Author

Editor Lee Gutkind has been exploring the world of medicine through writing for over 20 years. He is the author of Many Sleepless Nights: The World of Organ Transplantation, and the editor of four anthologies about health and medicine: Silence Kills: Speaking Out and Saving Lives; Rage and Reconciliation: Inspiring a Health Care Revolution; Healing; and Becoming a Doctor. He is the founder and editor of the magazine Creative Nonfiction, the first and largest literary journal to exclusively publish nonfiction, and has also published the essay collection Forever Fat and two books on writing, The Art of Creative Nonfiction and Keep It Real, among other titles. Gutkind currently teaches creative writing at Arizona State University’s Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes.

Francine Prose is a literary critic and author whose nonfiction works include Reading Like a Writer and biographical profiles including Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife and The Lives of the Muses: Nine Women and the Artists They Inspired. She has also written 12 novels, including My New American Life, Touch, and the National Book Award finalist Blue Angel. Prose is the president of the PEN American Center, and a Distinguished Writer in Residence at Bard College.

Customer Reviews

Great book, but difficult to read for someone recently bereaved.
Pamela Stewart
Superbly written by various authors, they give the reader a realistic look into the different aspects of dealing with death.
J. Alger
Excellent collection of top quality of creative non-fiction writing on this very relevant topic.
Mitch Travers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TJ on April 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've been a nurse for over 10 years now and I've seen my share of end of life issues. I wasn't sure what to expect from this book but I am pleased to say I really did enjoy it because the stories FELT so real. It's a collection of short stories of personal accounts and I felt my heart breaking while empathizing with each situation. Throughout the book I couldn't help but think, "What would I do if this was happening to me?" It made me reflect again on the relationships I have and how I should take advantage of every opportunity to enjoy the little things since life can be so fleeting. It's important to really think about death and how it impacts us and those around us. Unless it happens to us personally, sometimes we tend to easily forget that the grieving and mourning process goes well beyond the week of bereavement we are given off from work. We see people go back to their usual activities thinking they must be doing well but little do we realize that they are still dealing with emotional pain and anguish months or years after they've lost a love one. Our society seems to be preoccupied with so many other details that death is rarely given much thought until it personally touches us. Out of sight doesn't mean out of mind in this case. The more we can help each other understand and cope with it, the healthier we all can be mentally and emotionally. End of life decisions and situations are never easy but I would hope that we can all make the right decisions for ourselves and our loved ones when the time calls for it. I definitely would recommend this to anyone interested in broadening their perspective and appreciation for life. It's definitely worth the read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By nanasteig on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found these stories difficult and heartwarming. I have witnessed five close family members pass. When we had to shut the ventilator off on my father we stood around his bed and sang to him until he was gone. Some of the stories about nursing homes and elderly people passing in the ER with noone there are heart breaking. I have always found it so funny how we celebrate new life and try to ignore death. It is part of the process and there are worse things than death.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Alger on June 11, 2012
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These true stories of dying are spell-binding. Superbly written by various authors, they give the reader a realistic look into the different aspects of dealing with death. Pertaining to a part of life which everyone will experience in some way, this is a book that should be required reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By zpgmom on September 22, 2013
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Everyone should read this excellent and very honest book about the end-of-life decisions we all need to face. Better sooner than later, especially to make sure it's clear to all family members.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pat on October 31, 2012
Format: Paperback
As a long time hospice nurse, I found this book enthralling. It is written from so many perspectives that all contribute valuable insights into the hearts and minds of both the dying and the "observer" essayist.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. Woodruff on July 27, 2012
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Twelve Breaths a Minute and At the End of Life are the same book (with one chapter missing from the latter). No mention of duplicate/sequential publication in either.

Very shonky (dishonest).
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I have worked and volunteered with people who were ill and dying for several decades, including hospice for the last 15 years. The stories in this book still taught me about the perceptions and feelings survivors have while interacting with the dying. The book was well written, sensitive and empathic. I can't imagine anyone not learning something from reading it.
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This selection of essays,mainly written by medical professionals provides unique insight into our common fate,the versatility and variety of experiences evokes the reader's empathy and enriches understanding.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Lee Gutkind, recognized by Vanity Fair as "the Godfather behind creative nonfiction," is the author and editor of more than 25 books and founder and editor of Creative Nonfiction, the first and largest literary magazine to publish narrative nonfiction exclusively. He is Distinguished Writer-in-Residence in the Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes at Arizona State University and a professor in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication

Gutkind has lectured to audiences around the world--from China to the Czech Republic, from Australia to Africa to Egypt. He has appeared on many national radio and televisions shows, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central), Good Morning America, National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation and All Things Considered, as well as BBC World.

Gutkind is the recipient of grants and awards from many different organizations, from the National Endowment for the Arts to the National Science Foundation.

A prolific author, his most recent books include An Immense New Power to Heal: The Promise of Personalized Medicine and an anthology, At the End of Life: True Stories About How We Die.

His new book, You Can't Make This Stuff Up, is described by Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief and Rin Tin Tin, as the "essential and definitive guide to creative nonfiction . . . engaging, useful, indispensable and inspiring."

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At the End of Life: True Stories About How We Die
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