Ep. 391 Dying in America: A Journalist’s Exploration with Ann Neumann

Learn about this journalist’s research into “the good death” and what she learned through seven years of study and travel across the U.S.

My guest Ann Neumann is a journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Harper’s magazine, The Baffler, Guernica magazine, and elsewhere. After caring for her father at his end of life she became a hospice volunteer and began to research the meaning of a “good death” in this country, which led to her book The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America. She shares some of the things she learned about death as she traveled the country and listened to opinions, beliefs, and stories about what constitutes a good death. Learn more at her website:


Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Ann’s experience caring for her father at the end of his life inspired her research for the book
  • How Ann and her family felt unprepared for the actual dying process even though they were receiving care from hospice
  • How the “gentle” marketing of hospice and death care services can obscure the reality of the challenges of dying
  • The tragedy of “false hope” being offered to patients rather than factual information
  • Where Ann found inspiration for each of the topics she covered in the book (e.g. medical aid in dying, pro-life movement, religious influence on dying, disability issues, prison hospice)
  • Why “dignity” can mean something different to people who live with disabilities
  • The extensive work needed to overcome racial disparities in end-of-life care and restore trust

Links mentioned in this episode:

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