A Good Death?

01.25.2009
(was 02.24.2008)

The celebrated writer Susan Sontag died a few years ago from a brutal form of blood cancer. She fought her illness to the end and didn't want anyone - including her son - to tell her she was dying. Now that son, David Rieff, has written a memoir of his mother's death. And he tackles a difficult question is there really such a thing as a "good death." In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge we'll talk about life's final chapter.

  1. David Rieff on "Swimming in a Sea of Death"

    David Rieff has written a sobering account of his mother's last days. It's called "Swimming in a Sea of Death," and tells how he tried to do the right thing by his mother - Susan Sontag - while also being true to himself.

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  2. Judith Strasser commentary

    Former TTBOOK producer and interviewer Judith Strasser was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2005. Last summer, a tumor in her lungs attacked the nerve which controls the larynx, making it difficult, but not impossible, for her to speak.

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  3. David Shields on "The Thing about Life is that One Day You'll Be Dead"

    David Shields talks with Anne Strainchamps about his book, which is a meditation on how our bodies decay and die, and his irrepressible father who is 97 and who doesn't give death the time of day.

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  4. Pauline Chen on "Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality"

    Pauline Chen talks with Jim Fleming about her medical training and how ill prepared it left her for dealing with issues like grieving families.

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  5. Edward Wohl Commentary

    Edward Wohl tells us about the death of his father in 1999.

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