Everyone who thinks about end-of-life issues should read “The Maintenance of Life.” It is a beautifully written book on an important topic. Anthropologist Frances Norwood spent 15 months in the Netherlands, learning first-hand how the dying, their families, and their physicians confronted this difficult subject. She tells this powerful and touching story with both a close eye for personal detail and a researcher’s care. After the depressing debate in the U.S. over “death panels,” it is especially important to hear what Norwood has to say: While the Netherlands has allowed euthansia for decades, few there use it. Instead, the simple fact that those with terminal disease have an opportunity to express their wishes makes them less likely to end their lives. It is a powerful lesson for us all.
Howard Gleckman, author of Caring for Our Parents (2009) review on Amazon.com November, 2009