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June 30, 1975

A Handbook for the Study of Suicide

Author Affiliations

Veterans Administration Hospital San Francisco


edited by Seymour Perlin, 236 pp, with illus, $9.95, paper $5.95, New York, Oxford University Press, 1975.

JAMA. 1975;232(13):1380. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03250130062033

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Like most collections of essays written by various authors, the material in this volume is uneven in quality, format, and clinical relevance. Some articles have been previously published, others have not. This handbook was intended to provide "a suitable background source" to the first formal Fellowship Program in Suicidology, following its inauguration at Johns Hopkins University in 1967. The historical approach is emphasized, with the intent of establishing "the circumstances under which social groups accept or reject human selfdestruction." Authors represent the disciplines of history, literature, anthropology, sociology, epidemiology, psychiatry, biology, and philosophy. Clearly, with so many contributors in such a slim volume, the coverage is necessarily more remarkable for its breadth than for its depth. Nonetheless, the approach is generally scholarly, and extensive bibliographies guide the reader to further resources.