The Good Death


The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America, Beacon Press, February 2016

Agent: Laurie Abkemeier, DeFiore and Company

Editor: Amy Caldwell

Preorder at IndieboundBarnes & NobleBeacon PressPowell’s Books, or Amazon.

In “The Good Death,” Neumann sets out to understand this modern tragedy, volunteering as a hospice worker and developing deep attachments to the dying people with whom she works, hoping that frequent encounters with mortality will demystify it. She emerges a supporter of physician-assisted dying, though she writes eloquently about disability rights and religious objections to it. She looks at how people expire in wealth, in poverty, in prison. “There is no good death, I now know,” she concludes. “It always hurts, both the dying and the left behind. But there is a good enough death.” –Andrew Solomon, The New York Times Book Review

“Takes an unflinching look at the reality of dying and end-of-life decisions. Neumann writes movingly of the experiences she shared with the people she visited. Neumann does not sugarcoat the harsh reality of dying. A valuable discussion of the complex issues involved in end-of-life care.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Has there ever been a subject as chained to euphemism as what we now politely call end-of-life issues? Ann Neumann takes death head on. With unflinching honesty and searing prose, The Good Death confronts the entwined realities of dying and surviving in all their complexity and pathos. It is that rare book that is at once a tremendously moving reflection and a clear-eyed approach to moments we all must face.”
—Peter Manseau, author of One Nation Under Gods

The Good Death is a work of fierce empathy, at times profoundly compassionate and at times driven by a sharp sense of the absurdities and injustices of the American way of dying. Neumann is part investigative journalist, part memoirist, an elegant and clear-eyed writer drawing from all corners of argument and experience to summon us to a better, more honest way of thinking about how we care for the dying and how we, too, will confront death in our time.”
—Jeff Sharlet, author of Sweet Heaven When I Die

“A powerful, elegant look at how we face death: both the ways we try to stave it off and the process of accepting its inevitability. Neumann leads us through the complicated legal, religious, and ethical labyrinths that surround dying in America, revealing the ways by which we measure the value of life.”
—Colin Dickey, author of Afterlives of the Saints

“A must-read for physicians and those passionate about care for the dying in this country, The Good Death provides additional context outside the specific realm of health care, or rather reminds us how we might impact the daily living and dying for all Americans, no matter socioeconomic circumstance or credo.” –Anna Dauer, PalliMed

“If you have to take the big trip, having Neumann by your side wouldn’t be a bad way to go.” –Libby Copeland, Slate

If a good death exists, what does it look like? This question lies at the heart of Neumann’s rigorously researched and intimately told journey along the ultimate borderland of American life: American death. From church basements to hospital wards to prison cells, Neumann charts the social, political, religious, and medical landscape to explore how we die today. The Good Death weaves personal accounts with a historical exploration of the movements and developments that have changed the ways we experience death. With the diligence of a journalist and the compassion of a caregiver, Neumann provides a portrait of death in the United States that is humane, beautifully written, and essential to our greater understanding of the future of end-of-life care.

Preorder at IndieboundBarnes & Noble, Beacon Press, Powell’s Books, or Amazon.


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