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Autopsy of a Suicidal Mind
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Autopsy of a Suicidal Mind

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  71 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Autopsy of a Suicidal Mind is a uniquely intensive psychological analysis of a suicidal mind. In this poignant scientific study, Edwin S. Shneidman, a founder of the field of suicidology, assembles an extraordinary cast of eight renowned experts to analyze the suicidal materials, including a ten-page suicide note, given to him by a distraught mother looking for insights in ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published February 1st 2004 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2004)
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Trying to learn more about some of the issues that confront young people in a program I started working in this year, I chose this book to look at suicide. Taking the suicide of one young man as its focus, the family and doctors are interviewed and several experts on suicide comment on the case. It reminded me of all the different "experts" who have looked at my son through their own lens. What struck me most is that one of the experts felt that the young man was on the autistic spectrum (probab ...more
I thought that this was a wonderful book. It was the first psychological autopsy I have read. It was repetitive, but since I read through it in about two hours, it was not to the point that it made me sick of the book.

The subject of the "autopsy", "Arthur", was a tortured soul. Several respected suicidologists discuss Arthur's life and possible reasons for suicide, dissecting interviews with those close to him and his unusual, lengthy suicide note.

The only issue I took with this book was that
Interesting topic, but I've got a Noah's Ark of issues with this one. First, the experts brought in to do the "autopsy" make an interesting example of groupthink. If any of them seriously disagreed with Shneidman on any major point at any time, I missed it. Quite frankly, they seemed as much acolytes kowtowing to their master as psychiatrists/psychologists/sociologists performing an unbiased analysis of why Arthur did what he did when he did it. Second, Arthur's suicide note is placed at the end ...more
how do you really understand why someone committed suicide? this book outlines the process of the "suicidal autopsy" which is a psychological endeavor, not a medical one.

it usually starts with the suicide note (though i think less than 10% of completed suicides leave notes) and then goes through any hospital paperwork, etc, and interviews the family and friends. it's like trying to work backwards to understand the outcome, which is very familiar to me with my history background, so maybe that's
When I rented this book from the library I had assumed they would be looking at more than one case study, which they did not. Although it was facinating to read, it was not what I was looking for. It is an in depth look at the childhood, family, life and end of a man named 'Arthur'. An interesting book, base on the project of Edwin S. Shneidman a 'suicidologist'.
Suzanne Quinn
Interesting and insightful look into the thoughts and feelings of someone chronically depressed and suicidal. Author interviews various people associated with a man who committed suicide - also includes his suicide note...very interesting, but deifnitely not a light read for someone who's not so interested in this topic!!
Missives From
Riveting. I'm doing some research for a piece I'm writing, and this was a brilliant combination of personal story with cogent expert analysis that read like a piece of fiction.
Psychological autopsy organizations are interesting, more interesting than this book which is very process based. Still, worth reading if you like this kind of thing.
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Dr. Edwin S. Shneidman (born c. 1918) is a noted American suicidologist/thanatologist. He with co-workers from the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center provided a major stimulus to research into suicide and its prevention. He was the founder of the American Association of Suicidology and of the principal United States journal for suicide studies, Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior. He is Profe ...more
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