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June 14, 1976

The Way We Die: An Investigation of Death and Dying in America Today

Author Affiliations

Institute on Human Values in Medicine Philadelphia

JAMA. 1976;235(24):2657. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260500061041

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Most health professionals, many clergy, and probably all morticians will find portions of this comprehensive study of death to be at least simplistic, at most highly arguable. However, few persons are likely to have read as much about the dying individual and the consequences for his family and for society as Dempsey has related in The Way We Die. Therefore, a reason for recommending this "investigation of death and dying in America today" is that it should provide insights outside of the direct area of one's professional experience.

In accounts written for a general audience, which try to encompass all of the concerns in a particular area of human experience, the reader often may be angered by the lack of critical judgment on the part of the author. Dempsey avoids this problem because he is frequently in dialogue with the views that he presents. Although it is possible to disagree