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On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nursers, Clergy, and Their Own Familiesby Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Synopses & Reviews
As humans, death—its certainty, its inevitability—consumes us. We make it the subject of our literature, our art, our philosophy, and our religion. Our feelings and attitudes toward our mortality and its possible afterlives have evolved greatly from the early days of mankind. Collecting these views in this topical and instructive book, W. M. Spellman considers death and dying from every angle in the Western tradition, exploring how humans understand and come to terms with the end of life.
Using the work of archaeologists and paleoanthropologists, Spellman examines how interpreting physical remains gives us insight into prehistoric perspectives on death. He traces how humans have died over the centuries, both in the causes of death and in the views of actions that lead to death. He spotlights the great philosophical and scientific traditions of the West, which did not believe in an afterlife or see the purpose of bereavement, while also casting new light on the major religious beliefs that emerged in the ancient world, particularly the centuries-long development of Christianity. He delves into three approaches to the meaning of death—the negation of life, continuity in another form, and agnosticism—from both religious and secular-scientific perspectives.
Providing a deeper context for contemporary debates over end-of-life issues and the tension between longevity and quality of life, A Brief History of Death is an illuminating look at the complex ways humans face death and the dying.
A Brief History of Death offers a topical survey of views concerning death and its aftermath in the Western tradition from prehistory to the present. It explores how humans understand and come to terms with the fact of mortality, and looks at the physical and social aspects of death, how dying people are treated, how the dying conduct themselves in the knowledge of their approaching demise, and how survivors choose to remember the dead. The book provides a deeper context for contemporary debates over end-of-life issues, especially the emerging tension between longevity and quality of life.
W. M. Spellman examines the work of archaeologists and paleoanthropologists to give insight into pre-historic perspectives on death through the interpretation of physical remains. He spotlights the great philosophical and scientific traditions of the West, or what can be termed the rationalist approach to end-of-life issues. The book also examines the major religious traditions that emerged during the so-called axial” age of the ancient world, focusing particularly on the centuries-long evolution of the Western Christian tradition. Three approaches to the meaning of death: negation of life, continuity in another form, and agnosticism, are examined in both religious and secular-scientific contexts.
One of the most famous psychological studies of our time, this classic grew out of one of the author's interdisciplinary seminars on death. Sample interviews and conversations provide a better understanding of the effects which imminent death has on patients and their families. "On Death and Dying" is being reissued with other titles by Kubler-Ross to tie in with the release of her newest book, "The Wheel of Life".
Includes bibliographical references (p. 277-286).
About the Author
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, MD, [1926–2004] was a Swiss-born psychiatrist, humanitarian, and co-founder of the hospice movement around the world. She was also the author of the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying, which first discussed The Five Stages of Grief. Elisabeth authored twenty-four books in thirty-six languages and brought comfort to millions of people coping with their own deaths or the death of a loved one. Her greatest professional legacy includes teaching the practice of humane care for the dying and the importance of sharing unconditional love. Her work continues by the efforts of hundreds of organizations around the world, including The Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation: <>EKRFoundation.org.
Table of Contents
I On the Fear of Death
II Attitudes Toward Death and Dying
III First Stage: Denial and Isolation
IV Second Stage: Anger
V Third Stage: Bargaining
VI Fourth Stage: Depression
VII Fifth Stage: Acceptance
IX The Patient's Family
X Some Interviews with Terminally Ill Patients
XI Reactions to the Seminar on Death and Dying
XII Therapy with the Terminally Ill
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