From Publishers Weekly
In 1989, when Derek Humphry, a founder of the Hemlock Society and author of Final Exit , learned that his second wife, Ann, like his first, had breast cancer, he left her. Ann committed suicide in 1991, leaving a note in which she accused Derek of driving her to it. She also raised questions about his role in his first wife's death, about which he wrote in Jean's Way (coauthored with Ann), and confessed to misgivings about their joint assistance in the double suicides of her parents. Ann's suicide and allegations shook the Hemlock Society, which advocates the legalization of "assisted death" for those who request it. Marker, director of the International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force, to whom Ann turned when Derek rejected her, may sometimes seem to exploit the Humphrys' troubles to fuel her arguments against euthanasia. But her concern that the distinction between assisted suicide and murder can be thin is vivid and palpable. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
When Ann Humphry, estranged wife of Derek Humphry (executive director of the Hemlock Society and author of the bestselling Final Exit), committed suicide in 1991, her farewell note asked Marker, an articulate and prominent spokesperson for antieuthanasia forces, to tell her story. This book is the result. The two women became friends in 1989, after Ann, who had lost both her husband and her job when she was stricken with breast cancer, called Marker for help. The breakup of the Humphry marriage was a messy one, involving public statements, lawsuits, and fighting within the Hemlock Society. Marker defends her friend loyally and tells Ann's side of the story convincingly. As cofounders of the Hemlock Society, the Humphrys were well-known leaders of the right-to-die crusade, but Ann's private feelings about euthanasia changed after her participation in her own parents' deaths. She came to see mercy killing not as a compassionate solution to suffering but as a ``deadly deception'' that leads only to more suffering. This view is shared by Marker, who uses Ann's story to trace the recent history of euthanasia and to argue forcefully against it. She fears that the right to die can easily become pressure to die, and she warns that giving physicians ``license to kill'' is a grave mistake. The statistics she cites on physician-induced deaths in the Netherlands--often regarded as a model by euthanasia advocates--are disturbing (e.g., that one thousand patients die each year from ``involuntary euthanasia,'' that is, without giving their consent to die). Marker advocates ``always to care, never to kill,'' and she includes a condensation of a declaration on that theme by an ecumenical group of theologians and philosophers. Both a warm tribute to a lost friend and a cool argument by an experienced opponent of euthanasia--although it leaves many difficult questions unanswered. (Photographs) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.