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Long Goodbye: The Deaths of Nancy Cruzan Paperback – October 1, 2003

4.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In 1987, as a young lawyer, Colby took as his first case what appeared to be a simple probate issue--guardianship rights of the parents of a young woman who was in a persistent vegetative state after being severely injured in a car accident. Because the Cruzans wanted to remove their daughter's feeding tube, the case generated a firestorm of publicity and protests from right-to-lifers. Drawing on the taped recollections of Cruzan's father and his own records, Colby chronicles the stark human drama of a family forced to live its most intimate moments in the courts and the media. He tracks the case from its beginning in probate court in a small town in Missouri to the U.S. Supreme Court. After three years of litigation and seven years spent in a vegetative state, Cruzan was finally permitted to die. This is a truly riveting look at the case that sharpened public debate about the medical and legal issues surrounding brain death and the right to die with dignity. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A righteous,... riveting, and often moving legal tale. Bill Colby takes you on a wiiiiild journey." --James Ellroy, author of the New York Times bestseller L.A. Confidential
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Hay House; 5th Printing edition (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401901328
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401901325
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,247,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
During my training as a chaplain at Baylor University Medical Center, it was considered part of the "dues" of training that one would take lots of being on-call at the hospital for handling of emergencies. To that end, there was a "call room" where a chaplain could catch a little sleep, while waiting. On one of those sleepless nights in the call room, I viewed a Frontline special on the story of Nancy Beth Cruzan. She was a young woman, fully alive, who, as a result of a terrible accident, would become a test case for end-of-life matters for years to come. After seeing that special, I was deeply touched by the need to convey what our wishes were for the ends of our lives.
The Nancy Beth Cruzan case took the better part of ten years before resolution. The lawyer who fought for her right to be disconnected from the feeding tube was William Colby, the author of this outstanding book. Those of us on the front lines of trying to help families prepare for the issues they will face at the end of life will find insight into the ramifications of that case, as well as grist for the mill of the work that we are doing.
Colby is a highly readable author (at times, I felt like I was reading a Grisham novel), the Cruzan's case is deeply compelling, the story is truly tragic, and readers will come away with an appreciation of the law and concepts that are involved in pursuing these matters.
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By A Customer on October 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most fascinating books about a legal case that I've ever read. It is fast-moving, riveting, and I couldn't put it down. It covers issues relating to law, medicine, the family, the rights of the individual, and the right to die. It would make a great movie.
I recommend this highly--one of the best books I've read this year!
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By A Customer on October 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Bill Colby has taken the first right-to-die case to make it to the Supreme Court and has made it into a book you can't put down. On the recommendation of a friend, I sat down with this book after work and ended up finishing it at 2 in the morning! Definitely worth reading - an excellent book.
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Format: Hardcover
Bill Colby is a passionate writer, and his genuine care and concern for the Cruzan family shines brightly in this book. It raises powerful questions about the status of American law on the topic and the morality of the decisions that you hope you -- or your family -- will never, ever face.
P.S. They call it a legal story, but it's not a difficult read. On the contrary, it's very understandable -- no legalese here!
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Format: Hardcover
Despite this book being written by the lawyer who represented the parents of Nancy Cruzan who wanted feeding apparatus to be withdrawn and thus to have Nancy die, this book presents the issues and the struggle fairly and even-handedly. This is shown in a way since after reading it I conclude the U.S Supreme Court's decision was right--in the circumstances shown the family could without monetary loss have permitted their child to not be starved to death. The account of the trial and of the appellate history of the case is absorbing and shows the author is an able lawyer, admirable in representing his clients. I have no hesitancy in saying if it had been my child I would not have gone to the efforts which Nancy's father went to in order to have his child die. But psychologically Nancy's parents wanted the living death to end and their lawyer was right to seek the relief his clients desired. An extraordinary book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As much of an interesting and well written legal drama as this book is, the real benefit to the book is the natural discussion that it leads to regarding what you would want to happen to you if you were unable to make decisions for yourself....a conversation everyone should have BEFORE something tragic happens. Understanding and seeing close up what these decisions do to friends and family where no directive has been given is imperative, and this book does a fantasic job of that.

While ultimately sad, heartbreaking, frustrating, anger-inducing...this topic applies to everyone regardless what side of the fence you are on. Simply put, a must read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book addresses the very difficult issue of allowing death to come when medical science creates a body in a permanent vegitative state. It is well written from the perspective of the attorney who represented the family of Nancy Cruzan in this heart-wrenching story. I've read it once and plan to read it again. I highly recommend!
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Format: Hardcover
no matter the side you take in the persistent vegetative state, this book exposes you to the intricate details of life and death matters. William Colby is not only an outstanding lawyer but a great author. the book is detailed with facts and carries you into a world that we dont normally think about or decide to ignore: the world of legal matters concerning death and what happens if this is a personal matter. you'll learn a lot from this book aside from it being an interesting and engaging read!!!!!!!!!
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