A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America

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Add to Basket. Condition: New. Canadian historian Dowbiggin succeeds admirably in setting today's debate over physician-assisted suicide and the 'right to die' in the context of major intellectual and political trends of the twentieth century.

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Before World War I, the idea of euthanasia attracted progressive thinkers seeking to apply Darwinian science to social problems and moral issues once considered religion's domain. Theodore Roosevelt, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Helen Keller, and feminists such as Margaret Sanger who equated 'death control' with birth control as essential to individual liberty were among its prominent backers.

Drawing on the movement's archives, the author traces the rise of the Euthanasia Society of America with its disquieting affinity for eugenics, its post-war transformation into the Society for the Right to Die, and its modern manifestations in Jack Kevorkian, Oregon's suicide initiative, and grassroots fears that medical advances will deprive Americans of death with dignity and force us to share the fates of Karen Quinlan and Nancy Cruzan.

Although Dowbiggin concludes that acceptance of euthanasia has declined since its peak in the s, he never oversimplifies the issues at stake.


The compelling stories in this book anchor euthanasia to the heart of our modern cultural divide, which pits boundless individualism against meaningful community, asserts the need to free sex and death from unhealthy taboos even as the social fabric unravels - and leaves unanswered the great question of what it means to be human apart from religion and the divine. Seller Inventory More information about this seller Contact this seller.

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A Merciful End The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America

How did today's debate over euthanasia taken from the Greek word for 'good death' become so divisive in American society? In A Merciful End Ian Dowbiggin tells, for the first time, the dramatic story of those reformers who struggled throughout the twentieth century to change the nation's attitudes towards mercy killing and assisted suicide.

Having had access to confidential records in the United States, England and Canada, and having interviewed leading figures in the American euthanasia movement, he reveals that euthanasia has been a contentious issue in America for over a century, long before Jack Kevorkian began helping patients to die. Over the course of the twentieth century, a group of public-spirited men and women tried to break down ancient Judeo-Christian prohibitions against mercy killing, overturn state lawscriminalizing assisted suicide, and convince the US Supreme Court that there is a right to die in the Constitution.

Dowbiggin, Ian

In their eagerness to succeed, these euthanasia advocates have often sanctioned public policies that blur the fine line between choice and duty, freedom and coercion, the rights of theindividual and the needs of society. By the dawn of the twenty-first century, they had won some small victories, and the debate over whose lives were worth living still raged, but Dowbiggin argues that more and more Americans seemed to prefer better end-of-life care to sweeping changes in laws about euthanasia.

Dowbiggin, Ian

America's euthanasia movement entered the twenty-first century ready and willing to fight new wars but facing an uphill battle against sentiments such as these. Original, wide-ranging in scope, but sensitive to the personal dimensions of euthanasia, A Merciful End is an illuminating and cautionary account of the tension between motives and methods within twentieth century social reform. It provides a refreshingly new perspective on an old debate. Seller Inventory LHB Book Description Oxford University Press.

Seller Inventory NEW Book Description Oxford University Press, New Book. Shipped from UK.

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A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America - PDF Free Download

USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Temporarily Out of Stock Online Please check back later for updated availability. Overview While it may seem that debates over euthanasia began with Jack Kervorkian, the practice of mercy killing extends back to Ancient Greece and beyond. Conclusion: The 's and Beyond. Average Review. A merciful end : the euthanasia movement in modern America. A merciful end : the Euthanasia movement in modern America.

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