- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Twelve; 1 edition (April 10, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1455535915
- ISBN-13: 978-1455535910
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer 1st Edition
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"Ehrenreich's sharp and fearless take on mortality privileges joy over juice fasts and argues that, regardless of how many hours we spend in the gym, death wins out. An incisive, clear-eyed polemic, NATURAL CAUSES relaxes into the realization that the grim reaper is considerably less grim than a life spent in terror of a fate that awaits us all."
― Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Evicted
"...[A] provocative, informative, hilarious, and deeply moving book. A must read."―Arlie Hochschild, New York Times bestselling author of Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right
"Throughout the text, [Ehrenreich] employs the erudition that earned her degree, the social consciousness that has long informed her writing, and the compassion that endears her to her many fans...A powerful text that floods the mind with illumination-and with agonizing questions."―Kirkus (starred review)
"[Ehrenreich] offers a healthy dose of reformist philosophy combined with her trademark investigative journalism. In assessing our quest for a longer, healthier life, Ehrenreich provides a contemplative vision of an active, engaged health care that goes far beyond the physical restraints of the body and into the realm of metaphysical possibilities."―Booklist
"Barbara Ehrenreich is a singular voice of sanity amid our national obsession with wellness and longevity. She is deeply well-informed about contemporary medical practices and their shortcomings, but she wears her learning lightly. NATURAL CAUSES is a delightful as well as an enlightening read. No one who cares about living (or dying) well can afford to miss it."―Jackson Lears, PhD, Editor in Chief of the Raritan Quarterly Review
"This book is joyous. It is neither anti-medicine nor anti-prevention; it is pro-balance, pro-scepticism and pro-perspective. Paradoxically, Natural Causes is about hope. If you are struggling with choices that weigh hope in potential medical advances that damage quality of life against non-treatment and the acceptance of a terminal diagnosis, this may not offer much comfort, but...as with so many of Ehrenreich's books, NATURAL CAUSES is a much-needed tonic."―The Guardian
"'Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the earth,' promised Archimedes. In Natural Causes, Barbara Ehrenreich has achieved an Archimedean feat. Her lever is made of erudition, acuity and irreverence; her place to stand is the perspective of cultural criticism; and she has turned the current understanding of body and self upon its head. To read this book is a relief: at last, what needed to be said!"―Jessica Riskin, author of The Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Argument over What Makes Living Things Tick
Claiming to be 'old enough to die,' feminist scholar Ehrenreich (Living with a Wild God) takes on the task of investigating America's peculiar approach to aging, health, and wellness...Ehrenreich's sharp intelligence and graceful prose make this book largely pleasurable reading."―Publishers Weekly
"...[R]ichly layered with evidence, stories and quotations...and sprinkled with barbed humor. Ehrenreich lets nobody off the hook, skewering Silicon Valley meditators and misogynist obstetricians with equal vigor. It's impossible to read this book without questioning the popular wisdom about the body and its upkeep. At the very least, you'll be able to make better decisions about how to work out, whether to have that mammogram and when to just order the steak."―BookPage
"[Ehrenreich's] description of cells rushing to staunch a wound is so full of wonder and delight that it recalls Italo Calvino...She sits in contemplation of death itself in the book's concluding, very beautiful passages, bringing to it her characteristic curiosity and awe at the natural world."―The New York Times
About the Author
Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of over a dozen books, including the New York Times bestseller Nickel and Dimed. Winner of the 2018 Erasmus Prize for her work as an investigative journalist, she has a PhD in cellular immunology from Rockefeller University and writes frequently about health care and medical science, among many other subjects. She lives in Virginia.
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This isn't really a book for the young, although some will get good from it. It's a book for those of us who are of a certain age, or, have parents of a certain age and are wrestling with what the means to them, and to us.
It is also not a book for devout theists of any flavor. Ehrenreich's atheism is in full view throughout the book.
Although not what I would call a consistently uplifting read, I would say that I finished the book with a sense of calm and a far better appreciation for dealing with end of life issues and thoughts that come from the existential nihilism many of feel as we get older in general. I also found it very well written and an easy read (I finished it over a couple of days). Although I wouldn't recommend it to everyone I know (in particular the born-again Christian types, or any other particularly religiously fanatic person), I would recommend it to a majority.
Buy the physical version. Read it. Share it with those you love. You won't regret it.
With so many variables in pathological conditions from acne to arthritis that are linked to inflammation, the “bad cholesterol” that triggers inflammation that causes heart attacks and strokes—many doctors believe that inflammation is at the core of a large range of conditions from dementia, depression, autism, ADHD, and even aging. Elie Metchnikoff (1845-1919), an intelligent Russian zoologist was the first to report that we have no control over the complexities of cellar biology and “macrophages” could go haywire and attack a physically fit well- nourished body at any time causing cancerous growth and tumors. There was a portion of the book that highlighted the latest findings of scientific technical study of immune biology and research, though Ehrenreich tried to keep the material as interesting as possible.
Heath wellness and productive aging books lead the best-seller lists. Celebrities promote their own vital health websites that feature pricey healthcare supplements and foods, skin care formulas, fitness and exercise gadgetry and a variety of other products. Ehrenreich was quick to point out that the cultural obsession with youth and beauty leads to levels of extreme self-absorbed behavior and entitlement of wealthier people—who have the luxury of time and can afford costly procedures and surgery to alter their appearance and combat aging. Lower income people are often socially judged and criticized for their low motivation, poor diets and lack of exercise.
The pressure to remain physically fit and in full control over our health continues into old age. We are encouraged to maintain a healthy diet, sleep schedule and exercise. Our profit driven health care system promotes diagnostic testing and screenings. Ehrenreich, (1941-) has a PhD in cellar immunology, received a breast cancer diagnosis in 2000, and later a false-positive reading after an MRI; elected to have reduced or no further cancer screenings.
To ease the suffering related to stress and anxiety among cancer patients an NYU psychiatrist uses psilocybin or magic mushroom treatments. Depression and anxiety were eliminated and patients lost the fear of death, tripping under watchful medical supervision while experiencing a mystical connection with the universe. Clearly, further studies in this area will be beneficial not only for cancer patients but others as well. This is quite an informative read as Ehrenreich reminds us how little control we have over the aging process and the medical conditions that could impact our lives. ** With much appreciation and thanks to Twelve- Hachette Book Group via NetGalley for the e-Galley Edition for the purpose of review.
I’ve always wondered why death is practically taboo in our culture; it’s treated as something to whisper about and to avoid at all cost. I’ve known lots of people who are scared to death about dying. Why? If you’re religious, you get to live in Heaven for eternity (which doesn’t sound too good to me; wouldn’t it get boring?). Or if you’re not religious, you can imagine nothingness: no pain, heartache, regrets, money issues, etc. Are we so self-centered that we can’t imagine not being alive? The takeaway: enjoy your life while you can, don’t go crazy over food or exercise fads, and go gently into that good night when your time comes.