"Death Be Not Proud chronicles Johnny Gunther's gallant struggle against the malignant brain tumor that killed him at the age of seventeen. The book opens with his father's fond, vivid portrait of his son - a young man of extraordinary intellectual promise, who excelled at physics, math, and chess, but was also an active, good-hearted, and fun-loving kid. But the heart of the book is a description of the agonized months during which Gunther and his former wife Frances try everything in their power to halt the spread of Johnny's cancer and to make him as happy and comfortable as possible. In the last months of his life, Johnny strove hard to complete his high school studies. The scene of his graduation ceremony from Deerfield Academy is one of the most powerful - and heartbreaking - in the entire book. Johnny maintained his courage, wit and quiet friendliness up to the end of his life. He died on June 30, 1947, less than a month after graduating from Deerfield.
Gunther concludes the memoir with selections from Johnny's letters and diary and with a short essay by Johnny's mother in which she probes the meaning of her son's death as " part of some great plan beyond our mortal ken." This deeply moving book is a father's memoir of a brave, intelligent, and spirited boy in his fight to overcome a dreadful disease that doctors had then only begun to understand. Discussion Topics
1. This book is a memoir, a true story of a boy's illness and death, but it is also a carefully crafted narrative. Discuss the techniques and strategies that Gunther used to create characters, to make Johnny come alive for us as readers, to involve us so deeply in the story. Why is thisbook so compulsively readable?
2. Many of us read this book in high school or junior high, and then returned to it as adults. Talk about the experience of reading the book at different times and different circumstances of your life - as a young person, as a parent, as a person who has experienced tragic loss.
3. At one point Gunther asks, " what is a mind for except to reason with?" What insight does this shed on his approach to Johnny's illness? What limitations does this approach impose on him as a man, a father, a participant in this tragedy?
4. Gunther grapples in an agonized way with the meaning and purpose of Johnny's life and untimely death. Do you find his thoughts here satisfying? Do you think he has plunged into the heart of the issues here or do you feel he has somehow skirted the issue?
5. The mysteries of cancer are at the heart of the book. Discuss the ways in which Gunther tries to fathom and come to terms with this disease. How has our understanding and treatment of cancer changed in the decades since "Death Be Not Proud was written?
6. Gunther writes in a particularly searching, emotionally charged passage of the book: " A primitive to-the-death struggle of reason against violence, reason against disruption, reason against brute unthinking force - this was what went on in Johnny's head. What he was fighting against was the ruthless assault of chaos. What he was fighting for was, as it were, the life of the human mind." Talk about your reactions to this quote. Do you agree with this view of Johnny's disease? Does this in your opinion capture the essential meaning of the story?
7. Johnny's death is the central event of the book, and yetwhen death comes it is very quiet and almost anti-climatic. Why did Gunther choose to present the death scene in this way? What impact does it have on your experience of the book?
8. The book concludes with Johnny's letters and journals and then a brief word from his mother. How did the journal and letters alter your views of Johnny's character and situation? Would the book have a different " feel" and different message if Gunther had simply ended with his own description of the events?
9. Memoirs were certainly part of the literary scene when this book was published in 1949, but today they are arguably the dominant and most compelling genre. Discuss the shift in taste, attitude, and literary approach that accounts for the current popularity of memoirs. Talk about recent memoirs that this volume may have influenced. How has the memoir genre changed since Gunther wrote this book?
About the Author
John Gunther was born on August 30, 1901 on the North Side of Chicago. He was one of the best known and most admired journalists of his day, and his series of " Inside" books, starting with "Inside Europe in 1936, were immensely popular profiles of the major world powers. One critic noted that it was Gunther's special gift to " unite the best qualities of the newspaperman and the historian." It was a gift that readers responded to enthusiastically. The " Inside" books sold 3,500,000 copies over a period of thirty years.
While publicly a bon vivant and modest celebrity, Gunther in his private life suffered disappointment and tragedy. He and Frances Fineman, whom he married in 1927, had a daughter who died four months after her birth in 1929. TheGunthers divorced in 1944. In 1947, their beloved son Johnny died after a long, heartbreaking fight with brain cancer. Gunther wrote his classic memoir "Death Be Not Proud, which was published in 1949, to commemorate the courage and spirit of this extraordinary boy. Gunther remarried in 1948, and he and his second wife, Jane Perry Vandercook, adopted a son. John Gunther died on May 29, 1970.
Reiki is an ancient and profoundly simple system of "laying on of hands" healing derived from Tibetan Buddhism. In the West, Reiki has been kept highly secret for many years. ESSENTIAL REIKI presents full information on all three degrees of this healing system, most of it in print for the first time. Teaching from the perspective that Reiki healing belongs to all people, Diane Stein breaks new ground in her classic guide to this ancient practice. While no book can replace the directly received Reiki "attunements," ESSENTIAL REIKI provides everything else that the healer, practitioner, and teacher of this system needs.
"Up to this year I have always felt that I had no particular call to meddle with this subject....But I feel now that the time is come when even a woman or a child who can speak a word for freedom and humanity is bound to speak." Thus did Harriet Beecher Stowe announce her decision to begin work on what would become one of the most influential novels ever written. The subject she had hesitated to "meddle with" was slavery, and the novel, of course, was Uncle Tom's Cabin. Still debated today for its portrayal of African Americans and its unresolved place in the literary canon, Stowe's best-known work was first published in weekly installments from June 5, 1851 to April 1, 1852. It caused such a stir in both the North and South, and even in Great Britain, that when Stowe met President Lincoln in 1862 he is said to have greeted her with the words, "So you are the little woman who wrote the book that created this great war "
In this landmark book, the first full-scale biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe in over fifty years, Joan D. Hedrick tells the absorbing story of this gifted, complex, and contradictory woman. Hedrick takes readers into the multilayered world of nineteenth century morals and mores, exploring the influence of then-popular ideas of "true womanhood" on Stowe's upbringing as a member of the outspoken Beecher clan, and her eventful life as a writer and shaper of public opinion who was also a mother of seven. It offers a lively record of the flourishing parlor societies that launched and sustained Stowe throughout the 44 years of her career, and the harsh physical realities that governed so many women's lives. The epidemics, high infant mortality, and often disastrous medical practices of the day are portrayed in moving detail, against the backdrop of western expansion, and the great social upheaval accompanying the abolitionist movement and the entry of women into public life.
Here are Stowe's public triumphs, both before and after the Civil War, and the private tragedies that included the death of her adored eighteen month old son, the drowning of another son, and the alcohol and morphine addictions of two of her other children. The daughter, sister, and wife of prominent ministers, Stowe channeled her anguish and her ambition into a socially acceptable anger on behalf of others, transforming her private experience into powerful narratives that moved a nation.
Magisterial in its breadth and rich in detail, this definitive portrait explores the full measure of Harriet Beecher Stowe's life, and her contribution to American literature. Perceptive and engaging, it illuminates the career of a major writer during the transition of literature from an amateur pastime to a profession, and offers a fascinating look at the pains, pleasures, and accomplishments of women's lives in the last century.
By the bestselling author of Cutting for Stone, a story of medicine in the American heartland, and confronting one's deepest prejudices and fears.Nestled in the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee, the town of Johnson City had always seemed exempt from the anxieties of modern American life. But when the local hospital treated its first AIDS patient, a crisis that had once seemed an "urban problem" had arrived in the town to stay. Working in Johnson City was Abraham Verghese, a young Indian doctor specializing in infectious diseases. Dr. Verghese became by necessity the local AIDS expert, soon besieged by a shocking number of male and female patients whose stories came to occupy his mind, and even take over his life. Verghese brought a singular perspective to Johnson City: as a doctor unique in his abilities; as an outsider who could talk to people suspicious of local practitioners; above all, as a writer of grace and compassion who saw that what was happening in this conservative community was both a medical and a spiritual emergency.
- A leading international authority on food allergy and intolerance provides invaluable advice for achieving dramatic and long-lasting improvements in your health.- Explains how sensitivity to foods is responsible for many chronic and misdiagnosed ailments such as migraines, sinus problems, and persistent fatigue. - Includes a step-by-step process for identifying food allergies and intolerances and reshaping your diet for better health. Many people suffer from chronic, unexplained health problems--migraine headaches, poor digestion, recurring sinus symptoms, aching muscles and joints, persistent fatigue--whose causes remain elusive, even to doctors. When conventional tests fail to provide a clear-cut diagnosis, doctors often suggest that these symptoms are due to stress or anxiety, but now Jonathan Brostoff and Linda Gamlin demonstrate that quite often food allergies and food intolerance are the true culprits in these situations. The authors provide clear explanations of the causes of, as well as the differences between, food allergies and food intolerance and offer numerous case studies on problems all too familiar to many readers. More important, they provide much-needed solutions and treatments for these problems. Along with a wealth of illustrations and charts, Food Allergies and Food Intolerance includes an invaluable step-by-step process for diagnosing food intolerance with a three-stage elimination diet and a system of gradual food reintroduction. A must for anyone who suspects a chronic condition may be linked to dietary sensitivity, Food Allergies and Food Intolerance supplies information that often results in dramatic and long-lasting improvement in people's health and in their lives.
A clinical reference manual for the evaluation and treatment of muscle pain.- Detailed color illustrations of pain patterns and trigger-point locations. - First accessible reference manual for acupuncturists, chiropractors, osteopaths, and physical, occupational, and massage therapists. In this easy-to-use guide to the treatment of muscle pain, medical educators Steven and Donna Finando present evaluation and palpation techniques for reducing trigger points--and thereby alleviating pain--in the most clinically significant musculature of the body. A "user's manual" for health care practitioners, Informed Touch examines a wide range of pain patterns and their treatment. Introductory chapters include discussion of the oriental medicine concept of Qi and its relationship to myology, information on trigger point location and activation, and palpatory skill-building techniques. Detailed information on each muscle, including pain-pattern and trigger-point illustrations and specific palpation instructions, allows clinicians to locate specific areas quickly and accurately. A visual index, showing reduced versions of the pain-pattern illustrations, makes it easy for clinicians to identify the muscles that may be involved in a patient's complaint. Informed Touch answers the reference needs of the growing community of physical and occupational therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, osteopaths, and massage therapists.
Qigong is an integrated mind-body healing method that has been practiced with remarkable results in China for thousands of years. The Chinese have long treasured qigong for its effectiveness both in healing and in preventing disease, and more recently they have used it in conjunction with modern medicine to cure cancer, immune system disorders, and other life-threatening conditions. Now in this fascinating, comprehensive volume, renowned qigong master and China scholar Kenneth S. Cohen explains how you too can integrate qigong into your life--and harness the healing power that will help your mind and body achieve the harmony of true health.