Journalist, screenwriter and novelist John Gregory Dunne. In his new book, Harp, Dunne explores what it means to be Irish Catholic in America. Dunne explores his own history - "from steerage to suburbia in three generations" - his college days longing to be a WASP, his family's scarred history (suicides, murders), and what he calls his "insane desire to be assimilated." Dunne's earlier novels include The Red White and Blue, True Confessions, Vegas and Dutch Shea, Jr.
Journalist Andrew H. Malcolm's new book, "Someday," is his first-person account of his decision to take his terminally ill mother off life support, a decision made ironic by the fact that Malcom often covers issues of medical ethics and the right to die for the New York Times.
McElwee's new documentary is "Time Indefinite", an autobiographical film about his family. McElwee's earlier movie, "Sherman's March" started out as a documentary about Civil War General William Sherman's march to the sea and ended up a examination of personal identity and the mysteries of love.
Medical ethicist Daniel Callahan. His new book is "The Troubled Dream of Life: Living with Mortality." (Simon & Schuster). In it he looks at how our society views death: If death is a "part of life," why do we have such trouble accepting it? And how do our attitudes about death affect medical and social policy?
Fresh Air prison correspondent Wilbert Rideau is editor emeritus of the Angolite, the news magazine of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola where he is serving a life sentence. He talks about dying in prison. With longer sentences and less parole, prisoners are beginning to die in prison. Rideau recently spoke with a dying inmate, a prison nurse and a warden who handles funeral arrangements.
Poet and undertaker Thomas Lynch has combined his two occupations to produce his new book, "The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade." (W. W. Norton) The work is a collection of essays whose topics range from the scheme to use cemeteries as golf courses to poignant stories from his twenty year career as an undertaker. Lynch says he thinks that the meaning of life is connected to death, and his book primarily discusses the impact of the dead on the living.
All Things Considered senior producer Sean Collins will preview the upcoming yearlong NPR series on death and dying. The series will begin airing on Monday November 3rd. The series of reports is called "The End of Life: Exploring Death in America."
Bill Moyers has a new PBS series about death and dying, but the focus isn't just on dying; it's on trying to live a decent life in the face of death and on the movement to improve care at the end of life, such as new approaches to pain relief and hospice care. The series also examines some of the difficult personal and medical choices faced by people who are dying and their loved ones. The series is called "On Our Own Terms." It premieres Sunday evening on most PBS stations and continues over the next three consecutive nights.