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Death Be Not Proud (P.S.) Paperback – Bargain Price, April 3, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 214 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Gunther (1901-1970) was one of the best known and most admired journalists of his day. The author of the immensely popular Inside books—a series of profiles of major world powers, beginning with Inside Europe, published in 1936—he was born on the north side of Chicago and died on May 29, 1970.


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Product Details

  • Series: P.S.
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics (April 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061230979
  • ASIN: B002KE4866
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,729,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Loren D. Morrison on July 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
John Gunther wrote DEATH BE NOT PROUD as a moving record of the last months of the life of his son, Johnny, who had died, as the result of a brain tumor, at the age of seventeen. Throughout his long and painful fight for his life, Johnny had maintained a cheerful outlook, and continued to hope that, somehow, he would go on. His father, in writing this book, made sure that Johnny did go on.
I'm sad that some of the younger (I assume) reviewers of this book found it wanting in pathos, or whatever it was that they thought was missing. Perhaps, with the coming of maturity, they will realize what a remarkable book it is. The fact that John Gunther was able to write this book at all, probably with tears in his eyes, was an amazing feat.
The death of a child is probably the most heart-wrenching loss that anyone can experience. I know. I, too, lost a son aged seventeen. That was 21 years ago, just three months after my son's seventeenth birthday. The pain of that loss is still with me after all those years. Just writing a review of John Gunther's book is almost too much. How much more difficult must it have been for Gunther to write DEATH BE NOT PROUD within two years of Johnny's death.
In spite of his own pain, Gunther wrote this book in hopes that other children and their parents who might find themselves in a similar situation "may derive some modicum of succor from the unflinching fortitude . . . . with which he (Johnny) rode through his ordeal to the end."
Before Johnny died he wrote a poem of prayer that ended as follows:
"Accept my gratitude
for all thy gifts
and I shall try
to fight the good fight. Amen"
And this when he knew he hadn't long to live. What a remarkable young man!
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Format: Paperback
This might be the first book I read as a young boy which drew me to tears.

It is relatively short, and when I reread it as an adult, I found myself awake deep into the night, turning each page in sorrow, knowing how it was going to end. I started early on a Saturday, reading until I was done early on Sunday morning.

You know how it will end too. The title cheats us from wondering if Johnny will make it, but at the same time, there is a peace. Johnny was ready, and teaches us a little bit about being ready for life's ultimate end.

The title, from a famous John Donne poem, is intriguing, as Donne saw no dignity in death, but that there was dignity in how we died. It refers to a more famous passage by St. Paul... "Oh Death, where is your sting?" talking about how Death has no real power over the faithful. Johnny was a faithful, powerful young man. He prayed, like another biblical person, for his unbelief, as he humbly struggles with trying to believe in God in the middle of his fight for life.

John Gunther, the father, previously best-known for his travel books, has made a mark on literature which will never be erased.

Read this honest, quietly spiritual, compelling story. You'll be emotionally drained, but better off for it.

I fully recommend this book.

Anthony Trendl
editor, HungarianBookstore.com
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By A Customer on January 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best books that I have ever read. It focuses on one teenage boy who suddenly develops a cancer causing brain tumor and his will to beat the odds and survive to make it to college. This book shows the will to win against any odds. It tells of the human sprit and a struggle of a young boy to survive. This book is beautifully written by the father of the teenage boy as he undergoes three surgeries and many treatments. It also shows the parents' desperate search to save their son from his proclaimed fate. They try almost anything for their son. It is remarkable how their son, throughout the entire book, is fighting. There is an ongoing struggle going on inside of him, to fulfill his dreams and make it into Harvard. Although he missed two years of high school, he gets tutors to help him make up his missed work. He is tutored even through the toughest times of his illness: surgeries, pain and diet restrictions. This boy does not give up whatever it comes to. This memoir is one that I recommend very much. It shows the courage that this boy had and really pulls at your heartstrings.
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Format: Paperback
Adrienne Guidry Mrs. Smith American Lit/6th 14 May 2001
Amazon Book Review
In John Gunther's Death Be Not Proud he gives the detailed fathers point of view of his sons struggle to live. His son Johnny is diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of sixteen and has a very small chance of living to see his next birthday. While Gunther tries to be objective throughout the book his pain shows through quite often as he depicts the horror and pain that his son had to endure. Gunther mainly centers around his son, and his strong will to live and his study of everything. His son loves to learn he was constantly, even when very ill diligently working on his schoolwork. He always wanted to know more, and then the more he knew he only wanted to know more. The book is a memoir of his trials during his son's illness. While he and his wife try to be strong for their son, Gunther is adamant in stating that his wife was the glue that held the family together. He constantly gives her more credit than anyone in making Johnny's last months peaceful and full of life. The shear audacity that is shown by Johnny when he is faced by death is amazing to me. I really consider the strength shown by this family to make this book worth reading. Just to see the way this family came together and loved one another in the worst of time is amazing to me. I found it very comforting to know that even though horrible things do happen someone was strong enough to let the rest of the world know that life goes on. The world does not end and the person who is ill can only go to a better place. I think that throughout the book Gunther foreshadows his son's death with the comments he makes. He may not conceal it like some other authors but the message still gets sent loud and clear.
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