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The Modern Art of Dying:
A History of Euthanasia in the United States
Shai J. Lavi

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [HTML] or [PDF format]


"This book, The Modern Art of Dying: A History of Euthanasia in the United States provides valuable background information about the end of life, especially related to euthanasia. It provides comprehensive and extensive references and case histories of ways of dying and euthanasia, to the field of gerontology, and to those working with individuals of all ages in a terminal state. This book is geared for all the people who are interested in the issue of euthanasia. . . . This book is very valuable to Christian scholars. Also, readers with religious beliefs and legal systems which differ from those in the United States may find this book very resourceful in helping them to understand why euthanasia is such an important issue in American Judeo-Christian culture and law."--Suk-Young Kang, Ph.D., Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care

"Lavi's book contributes to this ongoing discussion by providing a valuable, thoughtful, and concise history of euthanasia in the United States. His book takes us back to the 18th century Methodists, to see how 'the art of dying' gradually became 'technique.' He does a superb job of bringing together insights from several disciplines (history, religion, social science, law, philosophy) which help us to understand the issues involved by showing how art, technology, medicine, religion and social policy have contributed to the situation we find ourselves in today."--Bob Lane, Metapsychology Online Reviews


"Shai Lavi has enormously deepened the current argument over euthanasia by putting it in a perspective that has seldom entered the discussion, namely, its history. The genealogy of the idea and practices that have turned the art of dying into the technique of dying does not solve the current debate, but it does allow us to see it not just as an argument between ethicists, but as one about the cultural meaning of death. This book is essential for anyone who is concerned about euthanasia and has the potential of changing the very terms of the discussion."--Robert N. Bellah, University of California, Berkeley, coauthor of Habits of the Heart and The Good Society.

"How do we die? What do our ways of dying tell us about who we are and what kind of society we live in? Using the controversy over euthanasia to address these questions, Shai Lavi has written a theoretically sophisticated and persuasive book. Deftly combining historical argument and legal analysis, The Modern Art of Dying speaks to important ethical issues with great sensitivity and unusual subtlety. It exemplifies the best in interdisciplinary scholarship."--Austin Sarat, Amherst College, author of the forthcoming Mercy on Trial (Princeton)

"This book presents a subtle, nuanced investigation of the practice of euthanasia. It is a thoroughly researched study, relying on a variety of primary sources as well as keen historical instincts to tell a compelling, textured, and insightful story."--Gary Laderman, Emory College

"This is an outstanding book-beautifully crafted, extremely thoughtful, exceptionally well-organized and argued, and highly original. It's an important story and Lavi has organized it in a compelling, highly readable manner."--Sharon Kaufman, University of California, San Francisco.

"Shai Lavi has written a timely, insightful, and valuable book. Even those who have agitated for or against euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide rarely know the long history behind our current arguments. He does the necessary and invaluable work of a sociologist and historian: showing us the roots of our present debates. We are deeply influenced by them to this day."--Daniel Callahan, Director of International Programs, The Hastings Center

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File created: 4/21/2017

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