Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer

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$18.99  $17.66
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.1 X 0.8 inches | 0.5 pounds

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About the Author
Barbara Ehrenreich (1941-2022) was a bestselling author and political activist, whose more than a dozen books include Natural Causes, Living with a Wild God, the award winning essay collection Had I Known, and Nickel and Dimed, which the New York Times described as "a classic in social justice literature." An award-winning journalist, she frequently contributed to Harper's, The Nation, The New York Times, and TIME magazine. Ehrenreich was born in Butte, Montana, when it was still a bustling mining town. She studied physics at Reed College and earned a Ph.D. in cell biology from Rockefeller University. Rather than going into laboratory work, she got involved in activism, and soon devoted herself to writing her innovative journalism.
"Ehrenreich proves a fascinating guide to the science suggesting that our cells, like the macrophages that sometimes destroy and sometimes defend, can act unpredictably and yet not randomly."--The Atlantic
"...[A] provocative, informative, hilarious, and deeply moving book. A must read."--Arlie Hochschild, New York Times bestselling author of Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right
"...[R]ichly layered with evidence, stories and quotations...and sprinkled with barbed humor. Ehrenreich lets nobody off the hook, skewering Silicon Valley meditators and misogynist obstetricians with equal vigor. It's impossible to read this book without questioning the popular wisdom about the body and its upkeep. At the very least, you'll be able to make better decisions about how to work out, whether to have that mammogram and when to just order the steak."--BookPage
Claiming to be 'old enough to die, ' feminist scholar Ehrenreich (Living with a Wild God) takes on the task of investigating America's peculiar approach to aging, health, and wellness...Ehrenreich's sharp intelligence and graceful prose make this book largely pleasurable reading."--Publishers Weekly
"Ehrenreich's sharp and fearless take on mortality privileges joy over juice fasts and argues that, regardless of how many hours we spend in the gym, death wins out. An incisive, clear-eyed polemic, NATURAL CAUSES relaxes into the realization that the grim reaper is considerably less grim than a life spent in terror of a fate that awaits us all."
-- Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Evicted
"Throughout the text, [Ehrenreich] employs the erudition that earned her degree, the social consciousness that has long informed her writing, and the compassion that endears her to her many fans...A powerful text that floods the mind with illumination-and with agonizing questions."--Kirkus (starred review)
"[Ehrenreich] offers a healthy dose of reformist philosophy combined with her trademark investigative journalism. In assessing our quest for a longer, healthier life, Ehrenreich provides a contemplative vision of an active, engaged health care that goes far beyond the physical restraints of the body and into the realm of metaphysical possibilities."--Booklist
"Barbara Ehrenreich is a singular voice of sanity amid our national obsession with wellness and longevity. She is deeply well-informed about contemporary medical practices and their shortcomings, but she wears her learning lightly. NATURAL CAUSES is a delightful as well as an enlightening read. No one who cares about living (or dying) well can afford to miss it."--Jackson Lears, PhD, Editor in Chief of the Raritan Quarterly Review
"This book is joyous. It is neither anti-medicine nor anti-prevention; it is pro-balance, pro-scepticism and pro-perspective. Paradoxically, Natural Causes is about hope. If you are struggling with choices that weigh hope in potential medical advances that damage quality of life against non-treatment and the acceptance of a terminal diagnosis, this may not offer much comfort, with so many of Ehrenreich's books, NATURAL CAUSES is a much-needed tonic."--The Guardian
"'Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the earth, ' promised Archimedes. In Natural Causes, Barbara Ehrenreich has achieved an Archimedean feat. Her lever is made of erudition, acuity and irreverence; her place to stand is the perspective of cultural criticism; and she has turned the current understanding of body and self upon its head. To read this book is a relief: at last, what needed to be said!"--Jessica Riskin, author of The Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Argument over What Makes Living Things Tick
"[Ehrenreich's] description of cells rushing to staunch a wound is so full of wonder and delight that it recalls Italo Calvino...She sits in contemplation of death itself in the book's concluding, very beautiful passages, bringing to it her characteristic curiosity and awe at the natural world."--The New York Times
"[Ehrenreich] is one of our great iconoclasts, lucid, thought-provoking and instructive, never more so than here."--Blake Morrison, The Guardian
"Informative, provocative and entertaining."--The Times
"'Wham bam, thank you, ma'am' might be one response to this polemical, wry, hilarious and affecting series of counterintuitive essays by one of the most original and unexpected thinkers around...This is a book itself teeming with ideas and possibilities: maddening, stimulating, exciting and surprising, testifying in its own way to the expanding prospects of ideas that turn topsy-turvy, every-which-way as we try to make sense of the great unknowns."--The Arts Desk
"Ehrenreich's observations about our culture-wide denial of bodily decay lead[s]...down distinct paths of interrogation and discovery. For all [her] research, [she is] not prepared to give us easy answers. Still...dry humor and raw, personal accounts help make thinking about our common fate bearable. We may have a few extra years yet to sip kale smoothies, run marathons and get tested for everything under the sun, but we ought not make physical health our ultimate hope."--Wall Street Journal
"Engaging...Ehrenreich's scathing takedown of the wellness industry, New Age banalities and the epidemic of overdiagnosis will have you reconsidering how you live and die, and possibly second-guessing your next colonoscopy."--Newsweek