Early reviews for Dr. Sheldon Ekland-Olson’s new book: “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides?” are in and are effusive in their praise for this important study of issues surrounding Life and Death. Abortion, assisted suicide, capital punishment and others are among the most contentious in many societies. Whose rights are protected? How do these rights and protections change over time and who makes those decisions? Based on the author’s award-winning and hugely popular undergraduate courses at the University of Texas, the book explores these questions and the fundamentally sociological processes which underlie the quest for morality and justice in human societies. Dr. Ekland-Olson’s goal is not to advocate any particular moral “high ground” but to shed light on the social movements and social processes which are at the root of these seemingly personal moral questions.
One Amazon.com reviewer calls it a “tour de force, one of the most interesting and thought provoking books he has ever read.” Another was brought to tears by the story of one father’s struggle with the decision to allow his 7 year old child to die. All mention the meticulous breadth and depth of the research, the non-judgmental tone and accessibility of the material. While Sheldon is a teacher’s teacher, his friends and colleagues know that despite his many titles and awards, he remains a happy mortal among men, inspiring not just respect but our profound appreciation.
Dr. Sheldon Ekland-Olson is the Audre and Bernard Centennial Professor at The University of Texas at Austin, where he served as the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Executive Vice President and Provost. He is the winner of numerous teaching awards, and one of his classes was listed among the 2009 10 Hottest Courses in the Nation. His previous publications include The Rope, The Chair and the Needle, Texas Prisons, and Justice Under Pressure.