Virginia Morris, Author . Workman $22.95 (294p) ISBN 978-0-7611-1231-0

Even in this candidly confessional age, formidable silences still surround death. Acknowledging that "death will never be easy" and "will always cause suffering," Morris (How to Care for an Aging Parent) strongly advocates accepting that death "does and will happen," and preparing for it. Drawing on case histories, she shows how people often distance themselves from death and those who are dying fail to communicate clear wishes, even to their closest family members. Maureen D'Honau, for example, knew from prior discussions with her husband that he did not want to "drag out his death." However, when he became terminally ill with emphysema, she was unable to prevent the very painful and lengthy death he endured hooked up to machines because they had not understood the medical options or talked about specifics. According to Morris, the process of dying has been handed over to medical professionals, rather than family members and friends, because of our unwillingness to discuss and plan for death. Offering a wealth of information on Do Not Resuscitate orders, pain medication, living wills and hospice care, Morris provides a useful, clearly written and thought-provoking analysis. (July)

Forecast: With a 15-city author tour, a $75,000 marketing budget and a national advertising campaign, this book is poised to build on the commercial success of Morris's previous book. Still, it will take a major media break for the book to establish itself in it crowded niche and sell through its first printing of 50,000.

Reviewed on: 06/25/2001
Release date: 03/01/2001
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