While other books deal with the contemporary issue of the "right to die," no attempt has been made to demonstrate substantially the historic nature of this question beyond the borders of the United States. Whiting demonstrates that the "right to die" controversy stretches back more than two thousand years, and he explains how current attitudes and practices in the U.S. have been influenced by the legal and cultural development of the ancient western world. This perspective allows the reader to understand not only the origins of the controversy, but also the different perspectives that each age has contributed to the ongoing debate. Whiting discusses the development of legal rights within both western culture and the United States, then applies these developments to the question of the "right to die." In an environment of public debate that features such emotional events as the exploits of Jack Kevorkian, the publication of "how to" suicide manuals, and the counterattacks of Right to Life groups, the United States is left with very few options.