• by Jennifer Michael Hecht
  • Narrated by Jennifer Michael Hecht
  • 8 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Worldwide, more people die by suicide than by murder, and many more are left behind to grieve. Despite distressing statistics that show suicide rates rising, the subject, long a taboo, is infrequently talked about. In this sweeping intellectual and cultural history, poet and historian Jennifer Michael Hecht channels her grief for two friends lost to suicide into a search for history’s most persuasive arguments against the irretrievable act, arguments she hopes to bring back into public consciousness.
From the Stoics and the Bible to Dante, Shakespeare, Wittgenstein, and such 20th-century writers as John Berryman, Hecht recasts the narrative of our “secular age” in new terms. She shows how religious prohibitions against self-killing were replaced by the Enlightenment’s insistence on the rights of the individual, even when those rights had troubling applications. This transition, she movingly argues, resulted in a profound cultural and moral loss: the loss of shared, secular, logical arguments against suicide. By examining how people in other times have found powerful reasons to stay alive when suicide seems a tempting choice, she makes a persuasive intellectual and moral case against suicide.


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent book, well thought out and written

Very compelling and thoughtful book. Wide sources and well constructed. Recommended for any lovers of philosophy or the human condition ! Loved it.
Read full review

- Ranjit

Interesting but not compelling

Fantastic narration by the author.

I was expecting the book to be solely an argument against suicide. However, the focus is more about the history of philosophers' arguments against suicide (which seems obvious now, looking at the. subtitle of the book). It's fine if that's what you're looking for, but I found that the book focused a little too much on the history without bringing these arguments together in a satisfactorily coherent and compelling way. I also couldn't figure out why the book was structured in the way it was - initially the chapters were in chronological order of the history of philosophy in suicide, but this changed later on.

In order to be most effective, I think the book would need to be more concise and place more emphasis on modern research on suicide contagion. This was the most compelling point for me, but received surprisingly little focus compared to the writings of ancient philosophers.
Read full review

- Amy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 19-11-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios