In 1957, Glanville Williams, a British Professor, wrote The Sanctity of Life (Knopf) which dealt with many of the live-coal issues of the times. Now another Englishman in shorter, less challenging and less controversial form presents these touchy ethical problems but does not jostle the established thinking, defending the ""principle of the sanctity of life"" on which both Judaeo-Christian tenets and Western civilization depend. Opening with the thalidomide incident and the trial in Liege which pardoned Mme. van de Put, he censures the verdict which set a dangerous precedent inviting imitation. He goes on to deal with ""the right to life"" which begins before birth at conception (equating abortion with murder), then with ""the right to die"" contraindicating euthanasia, suicide and capital punishment (its only virtue as a ""unique deterrent""), and closes with a chapter on the right to kill in war- the ""most difficult to resolve"". There is an emphasis on British law and its application here although the frame of reference is general and literary, philosophical as well as religious in documentation; the tone is straightforward, even a little severe, and definite in upholding the moral and legal status quo.