“Death is as natural as life, and should be sweet and graceful.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
A husband and wife, both medical professionals, are gravely ill. Rather than living in pain, they choose to end their lives, and they turn to their son for help. Despite the legal risks and emotional turmoil it is sure to cause him, he agrees — and ultimately performs an act of love more difficult than any other.
The Last Goodnights provides a unique, powerful, and unflinching look deep inside the reality of one of the most galvanizing issues of our time: assisted suicide. Told with intensity and bare honesty, John West’s account of the deaths of two brave people is both gritty and loving, frightening and illuminating, nerve-wracking and even, at times, darkly humorous. As West’s story places him in the middle of one of the most difficult experiences anyone can endure, it also offers a powerful testament to the act of death by choice, and reveals all the reasons why end-of-life issues are far too personal for government intrusion.
Intimately told, The Last Goodnights displays the unnecessary pain and suffering that is often forced upon dying people and their families, and honors the choice to die with purpose and dignity. In the end, this story is not just about death — it is also about love, courage and autonomy.
“A significant story”
– The Washington Post
“Extraordinary … Riveting”
– The Wisconsin State Journal
“Might be one of the most important books you read this year!”
– Book Reader’s Heaven
“An incredible story, but it’s true, and whatever your feelings about helping someone die, The Last Goodnights adds something valuable to the conversation.”
“Simple, tender, honest, brutally honest, The Last Goodnights will linger in the back of your mind long after you’ve finished reading it.”
– Luxury Reading
“A book that I just did not want to put down … a book that will open your mind”
– My Overstuffed Bookshelf
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The Last Goodnights is being included in the course curricula at a growing number of educational institutions, from U.C.L.A.’s “Mind, Medicine, and Culture” to St. Edward’s University’s “Human Growth and Development” to Ashford University’s “Legal and Ethical Issues for Health Professionals.” Additionally, John West has been an invited lecturer at numerous institutions of higher education, including the University of Chicago, the University of Southern California’s School of Gerontology, U.C.L.A., Occidental College, and Claremont McKenna College, as well as the Brentwood and Sepulveda V.A. Hospitals’ Psychiatry Grand Rounds.
Book Clubs: John West has appeared at various book club discussions across the country, usually via speakerphone but sometimes in person when scheduling allows. Please feel free to contact him regarding participating in your book club’s discussion of The Last Goodnights.
If you are interested in having John West as a speaker at your event or conference, you can preview excerpts from one of his recent talks on this website by going to the Calendar/Media page and clicking on the Author Appearances button.