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Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It | [Jennifer Michael Hecht]

Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It

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.
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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.

©2013 Jennifer Michael Hecht (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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  •  
    Patrick United States 01-05-14
    Patrick United States 01-05-14 Member Since 2011

    Greetings. My brother introduced me to Audible in 2011. Since, nothing but enjoyment. Hopefully my reviews are very useful to you. Enjoy!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ratings
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    "Well worth getting---Collector's item"
    What made the experience of listening to Stay the most enjoyable?

    At first I was fearful of getting this book from fear of it coming from a dark place than could be mood altering. That was not the case. The narrator voice is a pleasure to hear and yet captures the intensity that's needed for the subject manner.


    What other book might you compare Stay to and why?

    None I've had before.


    Have you listened to any of Jennifer Michael Hecht’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No I have not.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I didn't but it raised my awareness of an epidemic that I was completely unaware of.


    Any additional comments?

    No matter how determined you are to live until a greater being takes us away it is important to get this useful info that could possible help someone else's life. Provides a chronological picture of the evolution of suicide.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 01-07-14
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 01-07-14 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    60
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    4
    4
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    "Informative but oddly dispassionate"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    In the introduction to Stay, the author notes that she has lost several close friends and fellow writers to suicide. She then argues why we have an obligation to stay. Powerful stuff. What follows after though is an oddly dispassionate and encyclopedic progression through historical justifications for and mostly against suicide. Some of this is interesting from a philosophical and sociological perspective but neither is it necessarily very persuasive. What seemed lacking, given the intro and the author's firm belief that we owe it to ourselves and others to live, is that she fails to engage the reader at an emotional level by bringing in any contemporary or personal connections. Still, I would say that Stay is a worthwhile read but more for those with an interest in the evolution of western society's mores toward it than a book that will convince anyone to come down from the ledge.


    What about Jennifer Michael Hecht’s performance did you like?

    Well read.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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