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Fighting for Dear Life: The Untold Story of Terri Schiavo and What It Means for All of Us Hardcover – August 1, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Promising a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the real story of Terri Schiavo—"the truth which has been withheld from you... that we were not able to introduce as evidence in court"—Gibbs, the lead attorney for Terri's parents, argues that Terri's court-ordered death was a gross miscarriage of justice. She was, he claims, able to respond to people and stimuli. She was not on life support or in a coma and she was not in a "persistent vegetative state." Gibbs portrays Terri Schiavo's husband, Michael, as a villain responsible for perpetrating these ideas in the press and for forbidding cameras in Terri's room so the world could not see that, though disabled, she was not brain-dead. Gibbs raises ethical questions that he says should be of deep concern to all Christians. At times, Gibbs's book reads like the theatrical closing arguments of a courtroom drama, with the obligatory rhetorical flourish. Despite the bias, this is a passionate book about an issue of great importance in our time. (Aug.)
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Gibbs was Bob and Mary Schindler's last lead attorney in their 13-year battle with Michael Schiavo over whether their daughter and Michael's wife, Terri, severely brain-damaged as a result of cardiac arrest, should continue being fed by tube. He and they lost, and Terri died, but not before Congress barged into, and the Supreme Court bowed out of, the fray. Gibbs is also an evangelical Christian broadcaster, as is coauthor DeMoss, and some tics of that trade (e.g., habitually using wake-up-stupid catchphrases--"I hope you're sitting down," etc.--that may be needed to corral listeners' wandering attention but insult those engaged in the much more focused activity of reading) make a vital though unabashedly partisan key-player perspective on a major social contretemps more off-putting than need be. Gibbs reports as fact primarily his and his clients' and colleagues' actions and tells no tales on Michael Schiavo, his counsel, or his supporters. He does question Michael's behavior, wondering as others have why Michael didn't turn Terri's care over to her parents rather than insist on his right to end her feeding; he contends that Michael, his counsel, and experts among his supporters misled the public about the probable pain of starvation; and he argues that Terri's autopsy is unhelpful for determining her physical condition at any time much before death. The last several chapters are inspirational and hortatory padding, tacked on for members of the evangelical choir. Before then, anyone interested in the consummate brou-ha-ha that was the Schiavo affair will be engaged. Ray Olson
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