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The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia Paperback – Apr 12 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (April 12 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691140979
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691140971
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.9 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,193,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"I believe that anyone who is concerned about the issue must engage with [Gorsuch's] arguments."--Raymond Tallis, Times Literary Supplement

"Gorsuch lucidly lays out the key ethical and philosophical arguments on both sides. . . . [This] is the most important book published so far in consideration of ethical and legal issues."--Kevin Yuill, Spiked Review of Books

"The author provides a thorough overview of the ethical and legal issues raised by assisted suicide and euthanasia, as well as the most comprehensive argument against their legalization."--Issues in Law & Medicine

"Gorsuch reviews the case law and the range of ethical and legal issues surrounding assisted suicide and offers a strong argument against legalization of these practices, even as he considers both positions in the debate."--Law & Social Inquiry

"For those who need insight into the part played by legislators and courts of justice in recent euthanasia discussions, Neil M. Gorsuch's book . . . is an excellent source. . . . [C]omprehensive and well argued."--Theo A. Boer, Journal of Religious Ethics

"Neil M. Gorsuch builds a powerful moral and legal argument against [assisted suicide's] legalization, one based on a principle that has largely been overlooked in the debate--the idea that human life is intrinsically valuable and that intentional killing is wrong."--New Oxford Review

"Thoroughly researched. . . . Gorsuch is especially successful when exploring the relevant legal cases raised by assisted-suicide and euthanasia advocacy."--Wesley J. Smith, First Things

"Goruch's book is an exceptional contribution to a debate that is both significant and topical. Every reader, whether or not ultimately persuaded by his arguments, will emerge better equipped to tackle the profound questions surrounding euthanasia and assisted suicide. it is essential reading for advocates and opponents alike."--Wendy E. Hiscox, Studies in Christian Ethics

From the Back Cover

"A thoughtful, sober, and thorough work, which should be read by supporters, opponents, and the undecided alike."--Eugene Volokh, UCLA School of Law

"This may well become one of the most important books in the field. It is timely, thorough, well reasoned, well structured, and well written. Its reply to the arguments for legalizing physician-assisted suicide is measured, fair, and persuasive."--John Keown, Georgetown University, author of Euthanasia, Ethics, and Public Policy

"In a world where there are now many books and articles on assisted suicide and euthanasia, Neil Gorsuch's book is a timely and significant contribution. While the primary focus is on the law, with a systematic survey of pertinent legal and court decisions, the book manages as well to nicely set the problem within a broader international context. His insights and arguments are penetrating and pertinent, and anyone who reads this book will come away with an expanded horizon of understanding."--Daniel Callahan, The Hastings Center, author of The Research Imperative: What Price Better Health?

"Gorsuch's book is an exceptionally fine contribution to one of the most timely debates in ethics and public policy: the question of assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia. It sorts out the arguments for and against relaxing legal prohibitions on choices of these kinds, and does so in tandem with an account--close, accurate, straightforward, and uncluttered--of the developing law in statutes and cases. It could quickly become the leading book in the field."--Robert P. George, Princeton University, and the President's Commission on Bioethics

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Erudite, but Accessible, Legal Analysis Aug. 1 2007
By Richard Weikart - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Gorsuch, who has a law degree from Harvard and a doctorate in legal philosophy from Oxford, has written an erudite scholarly work that has the advantage of being accessible to a broad educated public. He argues that human life has intrinsic value and effectively dismantles arguments for the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia. His analysis is completely rational and secular, not relying on any religious argumentation. He provides cogent analyses of the major legal cases in the US and Britain relating to assisted suicide and euthanasia. This is a must read for anyone interested in this issue. No matter what your position in this debate, you will need to understand and engage his arguments.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Courageous And Compelling Book Aug. 29 2007
By Robert O. DeVries - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Legal scholar, and now Federal Appeals Court Judge, Neil Gorsuch has written a comprehensive study of the legal and moral issues in the physician assisted suicide debate. This is the right book at the right time because the practical consequences of mindless "reform" have been largely ignored in the current discussions. The author's detailed descriptions of what has actually happened in Oregon and in the Netherlands which have legalized assisted suicide are especially helpful. The author also presents medical evidence from respected sources including the Journal of Clinical Oncology showing that the major motivation behind physician assisted suicide is not unbearable pain but clinical depression.

Generally those favoring physician assisted suicide are on the most liberal side of the American political spectrum. But Gorsuch convincing argues that the intellectual roots of their proposals are actually from Social Darwinism, the American eugenics movement, and the National Socialist Party of Germany of the 1930's. Adolph Hitler is directly quoted on page 36. What is publicly presented as a civil right involving "personal autonomy" would in practice present a serious threat to the safety of the most vulnerable members of society. Gorsuch quotes with obvious approval the 1994 British House of Lords study which argued that it would not be logically possible to frame sufficient safeguards to guarantee that all "voluntary" suicides would in fact actually be voluntary.

A "reform" which completely rejects the traditions of Western Civilization and makes homicide legal is not one which should be adopted without consideration of all the facts. Our author calls the debaters away from the realm of theory, speculation, and one liners--and back to the real world.