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At Liberty to Die: The Battle for Death with Dignity in America Hardcover – June 11, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

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"In his recently published book, Howard Ball does a superb job of documenting and explaining the key legal principles that frame the right-to-die debate in the United States. At Liberty to Die: The Battle for Death with Dignity in America illustrates clearly that jurisprudential matters are Ball's strong suit, and he plays his cards well, touching on all the key court cases while also covering the battles to enact right-to-die legislation in several states. The writing is crisp; the key points of disagreement are clearly laid out, the coverage is both balanced and comprehensive, and the context of the legal maneuvering provided by Ball throughout make his book an interesting as well as an educational read."-James M. Hoefler,Political Science Quarterly

"Ball here makes an important contribution to the growing literature on end-of-life issues with this legal history of the right to die in America....Law and political science students, along with activists, will find this a helpful book owing to its careful analysis of legislative and judicial actions across different states over the last 15 years as well as its careful delineation of the legal issues that animate debates over physician-assisted death."-Library Journal

"Ball's arguments are concise, compelling, and backed with considerable case law. This volume is highly recommended for upper-level undergraduates and above in law, philosophy, and the medical humanities interested in the 'right to die' debates. Summing up: Highly recommended." 
- Choice

"A comprehensive and engaging history of the legal and political battles in courts and legislatures to recognize terminally-ill individuals' 'right to die with dignity.' A timely and informed contribution to an important and growing debate." -David M. O'Brien,Spicer Professor, Department of Politics, University of Virginia

"Professor Ball provides an informative, thoughtful, and well-documented analysis...deftly set against a portrayal of the changing nature of death and dying in America—especially the locus of death and its attendant circumstances—a back story that is essential for understanding the impetus undergirding rights claims during this period."-Daniel Hillyard,Southern Illinois University Carbondale

"In this valuable presentation of a large, important topic, Howard Ball skillfully narrates the history of the key cases and the legal, medical and political developments in a fast-moving process."- Metapsychology

"Comprehensive, thoroughly engrossing, surprisingly balanced! At Liberty to Die is certain to become the definitive history of the wrenching debate over physician assisted death. Highly recommended!"-Tinsley E. Yarbrough,Emeritus professor of Political Science, East Carolina University

About the Author

Howard Ball is Emeritus Professor of Political Science and University Scholar at the University of Vermont and Adjunct Professor of Law at Vermont Law School.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (June 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814791042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814791042
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,690,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E James LIEBERMAN on May 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The author, emeritus professor of political science at U. Vermont, has written extensively about the Supreme Court, its members and decisions. In this book, a model of clarity and human interest, he examines the famous cases of Karen Ann Quinlan, Nancy Cruzan, and Terri Schiavo, immortalized by their tragic, prolonged dying. Ball takes up the issue as it developed in Oregon and Washington States, leading to progress in a number of other states. Most Americans wish to die at home, but most do not, and only a minority even have advance directives. With the "right to die" movement making unprecedented progress, this book is a welcome guide to the legal, ethical and political aspects of the matter.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Derek Humphry on August 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very thorough book dealing with the legal developments in the modern era's push to legalize physician-assisted suicide.
Also useful as a reference book for all the USA court decisions of the last 40 years.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Adam J. MacLeod on April 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Ball never engages the actual legal doctrines, and ignores arguments against his position by far more accomplished scholars, including Hon. Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit, John Keown of Georgetown, John Finnis of Oxford and Notre Dame, and others. He stoops frequently to ad hominem. The book is, alas, not helpful in the least.
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