The question as to "why" individuals commit suicide is age long and the first defining study on suicide, carried out by Emile Durkeim, is just over one hundred years old. Since that time a substantial number of studies have been conducted on issues pertaining to incidence, causes and factors which predispose to suicide, and on prevention.
For instance we know that suicide is the 8th leading cause of death i the United States, and whilst the overall rate has fallen in the United Kingdom, incidence amongst youing men is alarmingly high. Although such accounts on incidence are by their very nature highly instructive, they provide us with precious little to aid our understanding as to why people commit suicide.
The issue of causation, however, remains problematic for several reasons. The loss of life is uppermost but pain, grief, stigmas and accompanying emotions combine to make suicide a taboo subject. Additionally, the research task is formidable as 'the only source of truth is dead'. Faced with the question as to 'why', researchers are obliged to consider other sources of data including family members, friends, history, suicide notes etc.
Based on his substantial knowledge and track record as a researcher on the subject of suicide, Prof. David Lester has compiled a fascinating account based on case studies of suicides by the rich and famous. His primary intention is to allow the reader to develop their own insights and understanding as to "why" individuals commit suicide. This compelling book will greatly enhance our understanding of suicidal behaviour, and follows on from Prof. Lester's earlier book: Making Sense of Suicide: An In-depth Look at Why People Kill Themselves.