Into That Good Night

March 9, 2016

(Slate) – Our interactions with the not-quite-dead is where our institutional and cultural limitations are revealed most clearly: for instance, the mixed blessing of medical advancements that can keep the virtually dead breathing, and our systemic bias toward doing something, however futile and debilitating. In her new book, The Good Death, Ann Neumann writes of visiting a hospice patient hooked to a ventilator while his wife, still hoping for a recovery, frets that he can’t eat. Denial is a fog, obscuring what’s right in front of us. Neumann’s is the latest in a series of books on the American way of dying—how it should go and how it does go, which are not usually the same thing.

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