100 books like The Hour of Our Death

By Philippe Aries,

Here are 100 books that The Hour of Our Death fans have personally recommended if you like The Hour of Our Death. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Logic of Care: Health and the Problem of Patient Choice

David Healy Author Of Children of the Cure: Missing Data, Lost Lives and Antidepressants

From my list on how medicine should be.

Who am I?

I’ve been researching treatment harms for 3 decades and founded RxISK.org in 2012, now an important site for people to report these harms. They’ve been reporting in their thousands often in personal accounts that feature health service gaslighting. During these years, our treatments have become a leading cause of mortality and morbidity, the time it takes to recognize harms has been getting longer, and our medication burdens heavier. We have a health crisis that parallels the climate crisis. Both Green parties and Greta Thunberg’s generation are turning a blind eye to the health chemicals central to this. We need to understand what is going wrong and turn it around.   

David's book list on how medicine should be

David Healy Why did David love this book?

Every book by Annemarie Mol is good but The Logic of Care is simply the best book on what medicine should be. It is short, deceptively simple but leaves no hiding places. Everyone will be able to understand it in the same way from a teenager up through a Professor of Medicine to a Minister for Health but don’t expect any Ministers to admit to reading it any time soon. Mol outlines a relationship-based rather than technology-based medicine. How do we ensure medical techniques help us to live the lives we want to live rather than force us to live lives that suit the companies that make the technologies want us to live? How do we care for people rather than service them?

By Annemarie Mol,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Logic of Care as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**Shortlisted for the BSA Sociology of Health and Illness Book Prize 2010**

What is good care? In this innovative and compelling book, Annemarie Mol argues that good care has little to do with 'patient choice' and, therefore, creating more opportunities for patient choice will not improve health care.

Although it is possible to treat people who seek professional help as customers or citizens, Mol argues that this undermines ways of thinking and acting crucial to health care. Illustrating the discussion with examples from diabetes clinics and diabetes self care, the book presents the 'logic of care' in a step by…


Book cover of Fighting for Life

David Healy Author Of Children of the Cure: Missing Data, Lost Lives and Antidepressants

From my list on how medicine should be.

Who am I?

I’ve been researching treatment harms for 3 decades and founded RxISK.org in 2012, now an important site for people to report these harms. They’ve been reporting in their thousands often in personal accounts that feature health service gaslighting. During these years, our treatments have become a leading cause of mortality and morbidity, the time it takes to recognize harms has been getting longer, and our medication burdens heavier. We have a health crisis that parallels the climate crisis. Both Green parties and Greta Thunberg’s generation are turning a blind eye to the health chemicals central to this. We need to understand what is going wrong and turn it around.   

David's book list on how medicine should be

David Healy Why did David love this book?

Medicine loves stories about heroic men who made breakthroughs that have saved lives and given us the life expectancies we have today. It has never celebrated women and yet it was a woman, Josephine Baker, who in two decades starting in 1908, by focusing on antenatal and postnatal care, laid a basis for saving lives that has given us the life expectancies we have today. She did so against fierce opposition from doctors who argued that creating conditions that make infants and children healthy would be bad for medical business. Now that life expectancies are falling, and were falling before Covid, we desperately need to recover Baker and her insights. Her book written in 1939 gives clear hints of how unimpressed she would likely be with today’s medical business.

By S. Josephine Baker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fighting for Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An “engaging and  . . . thought-provoking” memoir of battling public health crises in early 20th-century New York City—from the pioneering female physician and children’s health advocate who ‘caught’ Typhoid Mary (The New York Times)
 
New York’s Lower East Side was said to be the most densely populated square mile on earth in the 1890s. Health inspectors called the neighborhood “the suicide ward.” Diarrhea epidemics raged each summer, killing thousands of children. Sweatshop babies with smallpox and typhus dozed in garment heaps destined for fashionable shops. Desperate mothers paced the streets to soothe their feverish children and white mourning cloths…


Book cover of A Calculus of Suffering: Pain, Professionalism and Anesthesia in Nineteenth-Century America

David Healy Author Of Children of the Cure: Missing Data, Lost Lives and Antidepressants

From my list on how medicine should be.

Who am I?

I’ve been researching treatment harms for 3 decades and founded RxISK.org in 2012, now an important site for people to report these harms. They’ve been reporting in their thousands often in personal accounts that feature health service gaslighting. During these years, our treatments have become a leading cause of mortality and morbidity, the time it takes to recognize harms has been getting longer, and our medication burdens heavier. We have a health crisis that parallels the climate crisis. Both Green parties and Greta Thunberg’s generation are turning a blind eye to the health chemicals central to this. We need to understand what is going wrong and turn it around.   

David's book list on how medicine should be

David Healy Why did David love this book?

Most of us figure doing evil, even if good results, is not ethical but without this, there would be no medicine. Martin Pernick covers the discovery of anesthesia and the ethical dilemmas this new ability to save lives by poisoning people posed. Anesthesia is a technique and techniques are amoral. How do we ensure they enhance rather than diminish us? How do we avoid seduction into a sleep during which we can be cosmetically enhanced? Is there a limit to how many drugs we give children to manage their behaviour – just because we can? Treating and stopping are not the same as not treating. Pernick doesn’t tell us how to manage this calculus, but he makes us aware modern life involves more of a calculus than we might have thought.   

By Martin S. Pernick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Calculus of Suffering as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Analyzes the impact of anesthesia on nineteenth-century medicine, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of anesthesia, and explains how rules for its use were developed


Book cover of Impure Science: Aids, Activism, and the Politics of Knowledge

David Healy Author Of Children of the Cure: Missing Data, Lost Lives and Antidepressants

From my list on how medicine should be.

Who am I?

I’ve been researching treatment harms for 3 decades and founded RxISK.org in 2012, now an important site for people to report these harms. They’ve been reporting in their thousands often in personal accounts that feature health service gaslighting. During these years, our treatments have become a leading cause of mortality and morbidity, the time it takes to recognize harms has been getting longer, and our medication burdens heavier. We have a health crisis that parallels the climate crisis. Both Green parties and Greta Thunberg’s generation are turning a blind eye to the health chemicals central to this. We need to understand what is going wrong and turn it around.   

David's book list on how medicine should be

David Healy Why did David love this book?

AIDS was the pandemic before Covid. Unlike Covid, it mobilized people to take the science and efforts to find a cure into their own hands – especially people on the fringes of society. Nothing like this had ever happened before. It appeared to mark a watershed where medicine would become a servant of the people rather than people being enslaved to its commercial priorities. Sadly this is not how things worked out. The discovery of Triple Therapy was a high point of modern medicine but we have gone downhill since then with few if any drugs saving lives the way Triple Therapy did. Impure Science shows you vividly what we are up against.

By Steven Epstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Impure Science as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the short, turbulent history of AIDS research and treatment, the boundaries between scientist insiders and lay outsiders have been crisscrossed to a degree never before seen in medical history. Steven Epstein's astute and readable investigation focuses on the critical question of "how certainty is constructed or deconstructed," leading us through the views of medical researchers, activists, policy makers, and others to discover how knowledge about AIDS emerges out of what he calls "credibility struggles." Epstein shows the extent to which AIDS research has been a social and political phenomenon and how the AIDS movement has transformed biomedical research practices…


Book cover of Bodies Politic: Disease, Death, and Doctors in Britain, 1650-1900

Patricia Fara Author Of Life after Gravity: Isaac Newton's London Career

From my list on enlightenment science.

Who am I?

I’m an Emeritus Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and I’ve written several popular books as well as featuring in TV/radio programmes such as In Our Time and Start the Week (BBC). I love the challenge of explaining to general audiences why the history of science is such an exciting and important subject – far more difficult than writing an academic paper. I believe that studying the past is crucial for understanding how we’ve reached the present – and the whole point of doing that is to improve the future. My underlying preoccupations involve exploring how and why western science has developed over the last few centuries to become the dominant (and male-dominated) culture throughout the world.

Patricia's book list on enlightenment science

Patricia Fara Why did Patricia love this book?

After I decided to include this old favourite of mine, I discovered to my great delight that Bodies Politic is about to be reissued in paperback. Roy Porter was the most prolific, fluent and insightful academic I have ever been privileged to know, and decades ago, his lectures inspired me to recognise how much fun historical research can be. In my own work, I have focused strongly on images – not only in textbooks, but also in journals, art galleries and albums. As Porter expertly discusses, studying caricatures is immensely enjoyable but also invaluable for uncovering concealed controversies, which provide crucial indicators of what people really thought.

By Roy Porter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bodies Politic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a historical tour de force, Roy Porter takes a critical look at representations of the body in death, disease and health, and at images of the healing arts in Britain from the mid-seventeenth to the twentieth century. Porter's key assumptions are that the human body is the chief signifier and communicator of all manner of meanings religious, moral, political and medical and that pre-scientific medicine was an art which depended heavily on ritual, rhetoric and theatre. Porter argues that great symbolic weight was attached to contrasting conceptions of the healthy and diseased body, and that such ideas were mapped…


Book cover of How We Die: Reflections of Life's Final Chapter

Jennie Dear Author Of What Does It Feel Like to Die?: Inspiring New Insights Into the Experience of Dying

From my list on the experience of dying.

Who am I?

When my mother enrolled in hospice after years of living with cancer, the nurse asked her: Do you want to know what will happen to your body as it starts shutting down? That was the first time anyone talked with us about the dying process. The question came as an immense relief, eventually inspiring this book. After witnessing the difficulties and surprising joys of my mother’s dying experience, I began hospice volunteering. Later, I spent three intensive stints volunteering at San Francisco’s Zen Hospice Project. And as a former journalist and associate professor of English, I began researching and interviewing experts. Their deep caring and knowledge inform this book.

Jennie's book list on the experience of dying

Jennie Dear Why did Jennie love this book?

Until I began researching death and dying, I hadn’t realized my quest was so literal-minded. Despite the satisfyingly large number of relevant books, most circle around the subject, focusing on areas such as grief, the importance of creating a living will, or funeral planning—all important topics, but I wanted to learn about dying itself.

Then I discovered Nuland’s book. Chapter by chapter, he describes what we know about the physical experience of dying, depending on the type of death: Heart attacks, murders, falls, Alzheimer’s, cancer. Nuland’s background is in surgery, and his descriptions are neither graphic nor gory, but he doesn’t flinch from providing details. Although his book was first published in 1993, no one has yet matched its straightforward, informative approach.

By Sherwin B. Nuland,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How We Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER • NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The definitive resource on perhaps the single most universal human concern: death.

Even more relevant than when it was first published, this edition addresses contemporary issues in end-of-life care and includes an all-embracing and incisive afterword that examines the state of health care and our relationship with life as it approaches its terminus. How We Die also discusses how we can take control of our own final days and those of our loved ones.


"Nuland's work acknowledges, with unmatched clarity, the harsh realities of how life departs… There is compassion, and often…


Book cover of Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul

Anne-Marie Keppel Author Of Death Nesting: Ancient & Modern Death Doula Techniques, Mindfulness Practices and Herbal Care

From my list on love through deathcare.

Who am I?

To care for the dying is not only strenuous physically, emotionally, and spiritually, but it is a challenge in self-care and a constant call to remain non-judgmental. As someone who struggled financially as a single mother for many years, I discovered that compassion and empathy were needed not only for my children but also myself—indeed self-love was at the core of all. Working with the elderly in residential care, in hospice, and with individuals and families I now teach community deathcare with an edge of social activism to help the vulnerable feel safe while living and while dying.

Anne-Marie's book list on love through deathcare

Anne-Marie Keppel Why did Anne-Marie love this book?

When I first started studying death and dying, I was shown a lot of educational books on “good deaths” and there was a lot of talk about the “death positive” movement. I trained in a program to become a death doula and Home Funeral Guide so I could serve the dying and dead, and I trained to become a Celebrant so I could help the family through the final disposition. My death education was all about me. It was this book that awakened me to the us, the community, the part where we incorporate and live life alongside death as a community and the okay-ness of not knowing and not controlling absolutely everything—all of the places where we are ruptured as a society. This is a primer for all studies on death and dying.

By Stephen Jenkinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Die Wise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Die Wise does not offer seven steps for coping with death. It does not suggest ways to make dying easier. It pours no honey to make the medicine go down. Instead, with lyrical prose, deep wisdom, and stories from his two decades of working with dying people and their families, Stephen Jenkinson places death at the center of the page and asks us to behold it in all its painful beauty. Die Wise teaches the skills of dying, skills that have to be learned in the course of living deeply and well. Die Wise is for those who will fail…


Book cover of Thank You, Grandpa

Karen Toothaker Author Of The Rag Doll Gift

From my list on children dealing with death, grief, and loss.

Who am I?

As an early childhood educator, I have firsthand experience with the effectiveness of picture books to stimulate the mind, open conversation, offer emotional support, and provide us all with the fundamentals of understanding ourselves and others. I have supported children and families suffering a loved one’s death by sharing picture books with them. My book, The Rag Doll Gift is based on the true story of my mother who died before giving my youngest her doll. This story was born when my daughter received her doll and said, in all her six-year-old wisdom, “Grammie is still saying” I love you” even when we can’t hear her anymore”

Karen's book list on children dealing with death, grief, and loss

Karen Toothaker Why did Karen love this book?

When I read this book with children, we are all drawn into the secure loving relationship between the granddaughter and her grandfather. Because the text is action-based, we feel like we are on each of their adventures with them.

Through the beautifully illustrated pages we walk alongside them discovering life as we witness each of them changing and growing older until the day the granddaughter walks alone. She is sad, but Grandpa has walked with her in life. He has taught her in a very naturally occurring, organic way so that now she knows what to do. This book evokes a wide range of feelings including empowerment from within. 

By Lynn Plourde, Jason Cockroft (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thank You, Grandpa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

This glowing picture book, by turns playful and poignant, portrays the tender relationship between a grandfather and granddaughter as they appreciate nature together over the years. They take their first walk in the woods when the little girl is barely old enough to toddle; their last when Grandfather can only shuffle along. Each walk brings a new discovery-a sneaky snake, flashing fireflies, teardrops on a spiderweb-and sometimes a lesson about saying good-bye. One day the girl walks alone, stronger because she learned from her grandfather how to be grateful for life's fleeting gifts.

Illustrated by Jason Cockcroft.


Book cover of One Italian Summer

Tonya Penrose Author Of Venetian Rhapsody

From my list on featuring a time-travel romance or relationship.

Who am I?

I've been fascinated with time travel since I was young, and that's been a few moons. When the idea came to write books that play with time and space and cloak them in a romantic comedy, I got in my favorite writing chair to see who showed up with a story. I want to entice readers to take the journey, pondering suppose we could time travel? I think time is malleable, at least in my characters' hands. And they've done an excellent job of keeping me intrigued with their escapades in the past and present. I hope you enjoy the books I chose to recommend as much as I did. 

Tonya's book list on featuring a time-travel romance or relationship

Tonya Penrose Why did Tonya love this book?

I took a bit of a side trip away from romance in selecting, One Italian Summer, though love threads through this story.

The bond between mother and daughter can never be truly severed. From that premise, One Italian Summer throws open the door for a reader to experience a time slip where it's possible to reconnect with someone who has passed.

The author adds a magical twist and manipulates time to where the character, Katy, meets her deceased mom, then a younger woman in Italy. The author gifts the reader with a beautifully told, heartfelt story. 

By Rebecca Serle,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked One Italian Summer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“[A] magical trip worth taking.” —Associated Press

“Rebecca Serle is a maestro of love in all its forms.” —Gabrielle Zevin, New York Times bestselling author

The New York Times bestselling author of In Five Years returns with a powerful novel about the transformational love between mothers and daughters set on the breathtaking Amalfi Coast.

When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse,…


Book cover of In Her Shoes

Kelly McClymer Author Of The Fairy Tale Bride

From my list on celebrating sisterhood through time.

Who am I?

I’ve made a study of being the “big sister” since I was three. I remember standing up in the back seat (pre-seatbelt days), pelting my father with questions as he drove me to my Aunt Florence’s house. The memory is cloudy (maybe faulty, although I can smell that old car and feel the rattle of my dad’s nerves). My little sisters shaped me more than my parents (why did they demand I always be the teacher, no matter my protests of fairness?). Sisterhood was everywhere, from my mom and her twin sister to my dad’s two younger sisters. And so, my fiction often explores the sister bond.

Kelly's book list on celebrating sisterhood through time

Kelly McClymer Why did Kelly love this book?

Rose and Maggie Feller are so different I immediately related. And yet, beneath it all these two flawed and magnificent sisters are shaped and bonded by the childhood tragedy they experienced. This book is a reminder that a strong shared sense of humor mixed with a genuine desire that the other succeed can help mend any sisterly rift caused by rivalry, betrayal, or a good old-fashioned calling out. Humor is one way my sisters and I always bridged the gap of our differences and learned to walk in each other's shoes, even if only briefly before they pinched.

By Jennifer Weiner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked In Her Shoes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rose Feller is thirty years old, a high-powered attorney, with a secret passion for romance novels, an exercise regime she's going to start next week, and dreams of a man who will slide off her glasses, gaze into her eyes, and tell her that she's beautiful.

Meet Rose's sister Maggie. Twenty-eight years old, drop-dead gorgeous and only occasionally employed, Maggie is a backing singer in a band called. She dreams of fame and fortune -- and of getting her dowdy big sister to stick to a skin-care regime.

These two women with nothing in common but a childhood tragedy, shared…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in death, medicine, and mourning?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about death, medicine, and mourning.

Death Explore 333 books about death
Medicine Explore 90 books about medicine
Mourning Explore 132 books about mourning