Book

‘Merciful Release’: The History of the British Euthanasia Movement; Angels of Death: Exploring the Euthanasia Underground

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7360.396 (Published 17 August 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:396
  1. Elke Hausmann, researcher in sociology
  1. London

    ‘Merciful Release’: The History of the British Euthanasia Movement

    N D A Kemp

    Manchester University Press, £14.99, pp 242

    ISBN 0 7190 6124 5

    Angels of Death: Exploring the Euthanasia Underground

    Roger S Magnusson

    Yale University Press, £25, pp 325

    ISBN 0 300 09439 6

    Rating:: Embedded ImageEmbedded ImageEmbedded Image; Embedded ImageEmbedded ImageEmbedded ImageEmbedded Image

    Euthanasia might be a controversial issue, but one could be forgiven for thinking that we've heard it all before. The entrenched positions and arguments for and against the practice are well known, and nothing much seems to be shifting in the legal arena.

    Two new books challenge this assessment. Kemp's ‘Merciful Release’ rewrites the history of the British euthanasia movement and the antecedents to the present debate. He gives a chronological overview from the 1870s, when the topic was first discussed in the public domain, through to the present time. This is a carefully researched book that argues that the history of euthanasia is often told backwards from the perspective of contemporary …

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