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Recommended Reading on Euthanasia

Jul 6, 2011

Just as war has been declared against the unborn, so too there is an active campaign to bump off the elderly, the infirm, and many who simply are tired of living. Thus people are at risk at all ages of life from those who would legalise euthanasia.

The following books make the case for life, and show the shortcomings of allowing euthanasia to be legalised. Perhaps most are written by those in the Judeo-Christian camp, but some secular titles appear as well. In the first section books critical of the pro-death stance are featured, while in the second section, a number of books arguing the yes and no cases are mentioned.

The third section looks at an important related issue: the euthanasia program in Nazi Germany and lessons to be learned from it. Books as well as significant journal articles are included here. All these works are well worth getting hold of.

If I have to single out just a few volumes, perhaps I can mention those by Joni Eareckson Tada, Brian Pollard, Wesley Smith, and Margaret Somerville. But most of these titles can be usefully read, although the Wennberg volume is not ideal in all cases.

We need to be up on the arguments and counter-arguments, and these volumes will help you as you make the case for life and resist the culture of death.

Works Critical of Legalised Euthanasia

Blocher, Mark, The Right to Die? Caring Alternatives to Euthanasia. Moody, 1999.

Chamberlain, Paul, Final Wishes. IVP, 2000.

Demy, Timothy and Gary Stewart, eds., Suicide: A Christian Response. Kregal, 1998.

Dyck, Arthur, Life’s Worth: The Case Against Assisted Suicide. Eerdmans, 2002.

Dyck, Arthur, When Killing is Wrong: Physician- Assisted Suicide and the Courts. Pilgrim Press, 2001.

Eareckson Tada, Joni, When is it Right to Die?: Suicide, Euthanasia, Suffering, Mercy. Zondervan, 1992.

Foley, Kathleen and Herbert Hendin, eds., The Case Against Assisted Suicide: For the Right to End-Of-Life Care. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.

Gomez, Carlos, Regulating Death: Euthanasia and the Case of the Netherlands. Free Press, 1991.

Hendin, Herbert, Seduced by Death, 2nd edition. Norton, 1998.

Johnston, Brian, Death as a Salesman: What’s Wrong with Assisted Suicide? New Regency Publishing, 1997.

Keown, John, Euthanasia, Ethics and Public Policy. Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Kilner, John, et.al., eds., Dignity and Dying: A Christian Appraisal. Eerdmans, 1996.

Koop, C. Everett, The Right To Live, the Right To Die. Tyndale House, 1976.

Larson, Edward and Darrel Amundsen, A Different Death. IVP, 1998.

Ling, John, The Edge of Life: Dying, Death and Euthanasia. Day One Publications, 2002.

Marker, Rita, Deadly Compassion. William Morrow, 1993.

May, William, Testing the Medical Covenant: Active Euthanasia and Health Care Reform. Eerdmans, 1996.

Pitcher, George, A Time to Live. Monarch Books, 2010.

Pollard, Brian, The Challenge of Euthanasia. Little Hills Press, 1994.

Smith, Anthony, Euthanasia: A Licence to Kill? Kingsway, 2006. Smith, Wesley, Forced Exit. Times Books, 1997.

Somerville, Margaret, Death Talk: The Case Against Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001.

Spring, Beth and Ed Larson, Euthanasia: Spiritual, Medical and Legal Issues in Terminal Health Care. Multnomah Press, 1988.

Stewart, Gary, et. al., Basic Questions on Suicide and Euthanasia. Kregel, 1998.

Wennberg, Robert, Terminal Choices: Euthanasia, Suicide and the Right to Die. Eerdmans, 1989.

Pro and Con

Gerald Dworkin, R.G. Frey, and Sissela Bok, Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide: For and Against. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Haley, James, ed., Death and Dying: Opposing Viewpoints. Greenhaven Press, 2003.

Snyder, Carrie, ed., Euthanasia: Opposing Viewpoints. Greenhaven Press, 2006.

Uhlmann, Michael, ed., Last Rights?: Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia Debated. Eerdmans, 1998.

Euthanasia, Eugenics, the Medical Profession, and Nazi Germany – Books

Annas, George and Michael Grodin, eds., The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code: Human Rights in Human Experimentation. Oxford University Press, 1992.

Baumslag, Naomi, Murderous Medicine: Nazi Doctors, Human Experimentation, and Typhus. Praeger Publishers, 2005.

Brennan, William, Medical Holocaust I: Exterminative Medicine in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America. Nordland, 1980.

Burleigh, Michael, Death and Deliverance: ‘Euthanasia’ in Germany 1900-1945. Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Friedlander, Henry, The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution. The University of North Carolina Press, 1995.

Gallagher, Hugh Gregory, By Trust Betrayed: Patients, Physicians and the License to Kill in the Third Reich. Henry Holt, 1990.

Hoedeman, Paul, Hitler or Hippocrates: Medical Experiments and Euthanasia in the Third Reich. Book Guild, 1991.

Kater, Michael, Doctors under Hitler. The University of North Carolina Press, 2000.

Lifton, Robert Jay, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide. Basic Books, 1986.

Michalczyk, John, ed., Medicine, Ethics, and the Third Reich. Sheen & Ward, 1994.

Muller-Hill, Benno, Murderous Science. Oxford University Press, 1988.

Pichot, Andre, Pure Society: From Darwin to Hitler. Verso, 2009.

Proctor, Robert, Racial Hygiene: Medicine under the Nazis. Harvard University Press, 1988.

Sereny, Gitta, Into Darkness: From Mercy Killing to Mass Murder. McGraw-Hill, 1974.

Spitz, Vivien, Doctors from Hell: The Horrific Account of Nazi Experiments on Humans. Sentient Publications, 2005.

Weikart, Richard, From Darwin to Hitler. Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Weikart, Richard, Hitler’s Ethic: The Nazi Pursuit of Evolutionary Progress. Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

Euthanasia, Eugenics, the Medical Profession, and Nazi Germany – Articles

Alexander, Leo, “Medical Science Under Dictatorship,” New England Journal of Medicine, 14 July 1949, pp. 39-47.

Brown, Harold O.J., “Euthanasia: Lessons from Nazism,” Human Life Review, 13, March 1987, pp. 88-99.

Burleigh, Michael, “Euthanasia and the Third Reich,” History Today, February 1990, pp. 11-16.

Neuhaus, Richard John, “The Way They Were, the Way We Are: Bioethics and the Holocaust,” First Things, March 1990, pp. 31-37.

Pellegrino, Edmund, “The Nazi Doctors and Nuremberg: Some Moral Lessons Revisited,” Annals of Internal Medicine, 15 August 1997, Vol. 127 Is. 4, pp. 307-308.

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One Response to Recommended Reading on Euthanasia

  • Hi Bill
    Hope your time in Perth was blessed!
    Thought I’d pass on this news article I read in the newspaper a few weeks ago while on holiday in New Zealand.
    see:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/euthanasia/news/article.cfm?c_id=192&objectid=10810704

    It is about euthanasia by journo Deborah Coddington who recently lost her elderly mother (who was a devout Anglican).
    I thought it was interesting the way she compares the natural process of dying to the natural process of giving birth and adds an interesting perspective to the debate.

    When I prepared for the birth of my first child I spent a lot of time in antenatal classes (with my hubby) and also reading up on the process. It struck me that there are many similarities between preparing for birth and preparing for death.
    In western culture we assiduously prepare for the physical process of birth but have lost any sense of needing to prepare for death. Most have no idea of what to expect at the end of their life (from whatever cause) because we don’t talk about our inevitable mortality anymore. Because people these days have no faith or confidence in where they are going after death they have no ability to face the process confidently.
    Maybe there is an important role for the church here – to provide “antemortal” classes alongside supporting adequate palliative care? This may be an answer to those who just want death to be controlled with a pill because they are unable to face the reality of the natural process – the same way many women are so terrified of the uncontrolled birthing process they insist on being knocked out with drugs and voluntary caesarians!
    Perhaps “antemortal” lessons could be an extension of the role of hospital chaplains and would add an alternative view of the process of dying to the euthanasia debate?

    Gail Gifford

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