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Summary

What colour is cancer? Why do some people appear to have made miraculous recoveries? How can you tell when someone is in the final hours of their life? How can we ensure our most vulnerable are treated with the dignity they deserve? 

In this unprecedented memoir, a palliative medicine pioneer explores the biggest taboo in our society and the only certainty we all share: death. Kathryn Mannix immortalises the thousands of men and women she has seen off. These unforgettable stories send an urgent message to the living, answering all our questions about the end-of-life process with touching honesty and humanity. 

Drawing on four decades of experience studying and practicing palliative care, Mannix shows us what happens when people are approaching the end of their lives: how they cope, how they live, what matters most, how dying evolves, what a deathbed is like and how families react. 

Kathryn Mannix's stories, although drawn from her clinical practice, are those of our friends, our family, our partners. We learn about the body language of death through a young mother who raves the night away before falling into a forever slumber. The psychology of death, too, is illuminated, as with the endearing story of Sanjeev, an elderly man admitted to the hospital who is convinced he is on a night train to Delhi where he will meet his parents in the morning. A husband asks the doctor not to tell his wife of the fatality of her condition - the wife later confesses to having kept her husband in the dark about the finality of her illness to preserve him. These meditations tells us everything about the dying and their loved ones. 

With the End in Mind is a book for all of us: the grieving and bereaved, ill and healthy. It is also an insight into palliation as a mixture of teamwork with clinical detective work to find the origins of patients' symptoms in order offer the best possible living conditions towards the end. Mannix argues that with planning, honesty and information, death doesn't have to be either painful or terrifying. With at-times funny, poignant and always wise storytelling about how people die, Mannix has written a book of immense power and importance.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our Desktop Site.

©2017 Kathryn Mannix (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

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Brilliant

This is a book everyone in our. Modern western ‘culture ‘ should be familiar with.
Yes, the content will make you cry but stick with it, there is safety and truth in the words.
As someone who has the knowledge of a journey soon to end, I am less scared of the destination and separation that transition will enforce.
Thank you for your wisdom.

29 people found this helpful

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Very reassuring.

I found this book incredibly helpful, having been diagnosed with stage four cancer two years ago, Because of this I felt I ought to read/ listen to it. In the end I was very glad that I had.
It is in part science and also anecdotal, drawing on Dr. Mannix's forty years in medicine, mainly in palliative care. I am not at the hospice stage yet, if indeed I ever may be, so I had not really addressed my end of life, except to put my everyday affairs (financial, body disposal etc.) in order.
I had no idea about the natural dying process, and this is very well explained, both using clear medical explanations and anecdotes.
I would recommend this book to anyone, whether ill or not.
The doctor rightly points out that because of medical advances we as a society are no longer as acquainted with death and the final days of others as we once were.
This book has answered all of my questions, ones that I did not like to ask my doctors for fear of being accused of being morbid or in case I sparked a lot of attention from the medical team, worried that I may be suffering from mental breakdown at the prospect of my own death. I came away from this book reassured, calm and confident that I now know all that I need to know for when I am about to die.
You will note that I do not use euphemisms like "when it is my time" or "passing away". I am not only ready to die, but happy and confident that I will be able to handle the situation.
A word of advice. Be careful if listening to this audiobook in public. I was moved to tears on several occasions. I was in a public park the first time, fortunately a good distance from the nearest dog-walkers.

12 people found this helpful

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Tremendous book

As a doctor dying from cancer and having worked in the hospice, with the team described in this book I needed to hear this as a patient. I needed to address my own fears about the end of my own life and this book reassures me that it will be ok. I’ve gained additional skills to communicate with my loved ones my own preferences, needs and wants. Thank you Kathryn Mannix for writing this book x

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Fantastic book but narrator unbearable

One of my best friends was diagnosed with cancer last November, and since May he knows that it is terminal as it has spread extremely fast. I find this book very moving and helpful for dealing with my friend's illness. I bought the book on Kindle and have finished it, with lots of tears every now and then. But I had to stop listening and return the Audible version as I found the narrator unbearable when doing the different characters' voices, completely over the top in my opinion. She would be better for a funny novel.

10 people found this helpful

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Informative and comforting

I purchased this audiobook after my mother had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was recommended to me by my dentist who had read it and knowing of the sad situation of our family, thought I might find it helpful. At first I thought it was a bit gory to read a book about death. But it actually prepared me for what was to come in a comforting way, so I knew what to expect, that things did not come as a shock or a surprise. I recommended the book to the nurses of the palliative care unit and some of them read it and found it good too. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand better and who wants to alleviate the fear of the unknown. Thank you Dr Mannix!

8 people found this helpful

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If you read only one book this year.....

Joining what I can only imagine is a river (stream is not enough) of fan mail. Thank you for such a brilliant book. I fear I’m not articulate enough to tell you here how much I admire your work, not just the work of your career but also the book.
As I read it I kept thinking of my friends young and old and thinking they should read it too!

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A beautiful read and now a beautiful listen

I read this book two years ago and it was my ‘read of the year’. What I have learned from it has been immensely valuable professionally and personally. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed ‘refreshing’ t experience with this audiobook. Dr Mannix writes with compassion, sensitivity and wisdom.

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Showed me my fear of death was not needed.

Fantastic book
Opens up the conversation about death and shows us most deaths are peaceful

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Everyone needs to listen to this!

What a book, everyone needs to listen/read it, such an insight into to a part of life no one talks about! Brilliant but peaceful stories read so well!

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Food for the soul

A thought provoking sometimes difficult theme to listen to but such an authentic honest discussion of death and the process of dying. Thank you Kathryn.

3 people found this helpful

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  • D. B. Williams
  • 06-12-21

Honesty, Humanity and Compassion

This is an extraordinary book. As a semi-retired Neurologist I can tell you that Dr Mannix's book could only be written by someone with a rare combination of clinical skill, humility, honesty, humanity and compassion. I was by turns amused, amazed, inspired and brought to tears as I listened to the stories of ordinary (and some extraordinary) people confronting their imminent death. I learned much as a clinician from listening to this book, but I think I learned even more as a human being concerning ways of reflecting on, and valuing the certain knowledge that we will all die at some (currently unknown) future time. I believe Dr Mannix will convince any open-minded person of the value of that reflection and learning. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, and have already begun giving copies to those I care about.

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  • Sarah Vaulbert
  • 17-08-21

One of the best books ever

Loved this book. The reader was fabulous and the story so real. Very helpful for living. Helpful to plan dying and so real.

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  • Debbie
  • 24-10-18

Such a great book!

I really thought this book was great all the way around! The only thing that I wish is that it included some story about someone who wanted to end their medical suffering but isn't allowed to do so in the State that we live in. How do you handle that person? otherwise...the book is very well written and nariated. Five stars!

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  • Annette
  • 04-09-18

Very enjoyable and poignant

No use running away from the inevitable, and this book is invaluable in learning more.

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  • Isabella
  • 09-06-18

Oh my !

I would give book a 10! Touching, informative , a necessary subject to be discussed.