Thirty-five years ago, in 1973, the author, then in the middle of life, age 55, wrote Deaths of Man, a set of essays about death. The book was nominated for the National Book Award in Science and recently the American Psychological Association selected it as a "classic" and provided a retrospective review. Now, in 2008 the author, age 90, revisits some of his original concepts with the experience of thirty-five years of clinical perspective and personal travail and what it is to face his own death. This book touches on provocative topics such as some proposed criteria for a good death, a variety of ways in which we seek to survive our own death in our postself; the world-wide coarsening of death, and a chapter on suicide in which the author discusses his theory that the black heart of suicide is psychological pain. The book contains ideas like subintentioned death in which the individual, unbeknownst to the self, plays an indirect, unconscious role in bringing the death date forward. Perhaps the most dramatic feature of this new revision is an essay by the author's psychotherapist (about what he was like as patient discussing his own death). It is an essay which the author will not have seen.
Edwin Shneidman, Ph.D., Lett.D. (Hon) is professor emeritus of thanatology at UCLA. He is the founder of the American Association of Suicidology and founding editor of the quarterly journal Suicide and Life-threatening Behavior. While at at the National Institute of Mental Health he directed the nationwide program in suicide prevention. He has been a fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University)and a visiting professor at Harvard University. He has written or edited a dozen books, primarily on suicide and death. In his nineties, he is a widower, has four sons, all health professionals, and six grandchildren.
Chapter 1 Foreword Chapter 2 Preface Part 3 Act One - 1973: Extended Excerpts from the Original Deaths of Man Chapter 4 Introduction Chapter 5 The Dying Person - and After Chapter 6 1. Death Work and Stages of Dying Chapter 7 2. An Appropriate Death Chapter 8 3. Postvention and the Survivor-Victim Chapter 9 4. The Postself Chapter 10 Views of Death Chapter 11 5. Personal and Impersonal Aspects of Death Chapter 12 6. Ambivalence and Subintention Chapter 13 Medico-Legal Aspects of Death Chapter 14 7. Death and the State Chapter 15 8. The Death Certificate Chapter 16 9. The Psychological Autopsy Chapter 17 Dimensions of Death Chapter 18 10. Megadeath: Children of the Nuclear Family Chapter 19 Afterword Part 20 Intermission - 2005: Professor Brewster Smith's Retrospective Review of Deaths of Man Part 21 Act Two - 2008: Revised Thoughts and Concepts of the Original Deaths of Man, 35 Years Later Chapter 22 I. One Fundamental Attribute of Death: On and Off Chapter 23 II. Two Basic Orientations toward Death: Mine and Yours Chapter 24 III. Three Stances toward Death: Intentioned, Subintentioned, Unintentioned Chapter 25 IV. Four Traditional Categories of Death: The Death Certificate Chapter 26 V. Clarifying Equivocal Deaths Chapter 27 VI. A Psychological Autopsy in a Military Setting Chapter 28 VII Appropriate Death: Criteria for a Good-Enough Death Chapter 29 VIII. Commonalities of Suicide: A Cubic Model Chapter 30 IX. The Coarsening of Death: Postvention Chapter 31 X. The Postself: Quasisurvival after Death Chapter 32 Requiem Part 33 Mourning After - 2008: "Wednesdays with Ed": A Candid Report by the Author's Psychotherapist