A Formula For Dying?

If I Die at Thirty, by Meg Woodson (Zondervan, 1975, 166 pp., $4.95), Free Fall, by Jo Ann Kelley Smith (Judson, 1975, 138 pp., $5.95), When a Loved One Dies, by Philip W. Williams (Augsburg, 1976, 95 pp., $2.50 pb), Straight Talk About Death With Young People, by Richard G. Watts (Westminster, 1975, 92 pp., $2.95 pb), Ye Shall Be Comforted, by William R. Rogers (Westminster, 1950, 92 pp., $1.95 pb), Let Christ Take You Beyond Discouragement, by Albert L. Kurz (Accent, 1975, 128 pp., $1.75 pb), Raise the Dead, by Myron C. Madden (Word, 1975, 118 pp. $4.95), and Death: The Riddle and the Mystery, by Eberhard Jungel (Westminster, 1974, 141 pp., $6.95), are reviewed by Gladys M. Hunt, author of “Don’t Be Afraid to Die,” Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The statistics about death are very impressive, observed George Bernard Shaw: one out of one dies. Yet until recently we have been tiptoeing around death as if ignoring it would make it go away.

As late as 1969 Rollo May in his book Love and Will complained about contemporary values that make sex an obsession and death a matter of poor taste. When I was writing my own book on death, which was first published in 1971, I noticed an awkward silence each time I answered the query, “What are you writing about now?” People seemed embarrassed. Only one or two bothered to ask what I was saying about death. Joe Bayly when he was writing The View From the Hearse had a similar experience and sometimes felt like an untouchable socially because he had three sons who died.

But times have changed, so much so that recently the Journal of the American Medical Association carried an article entitled “Dying is Worked to Death.”

Without question the breakthrough for a realistic handling of death ...

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