Going the Distance:: One Man's Journey to the End of His Life

George Sheehan, Author
George Sheehan, Author Villard Books $22 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-44843-3
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Although it was cancer that prompted this memoir by the cardiologist and runner who died in 1993, its message is less to those with terminal illness and more to older individuals. Sheehan (Running and Being) did not see aging as a period of decline, but rather of growth and opportunity, ""a game of verve and imagination and excitement."" He believed that the very young and the very old share two great yearnings: for love and for knowledge. Because distance running was the center of his life for 20 years after he left his medical practice, Sheehan has a cogent and coherent philosophy of exercise and play, which he considered as essential to well-being as an alert mind. A loner despite having 12 children, Sheehan felt that he had at last achieved intimacy with his family after 40 years of marriage, i.e., he finally became an adult. He approached death as ""a self in evolution,"" and his book may inspire others to do likewise. (Mar.)
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