THE BODY SILENT by Robert F. Murphy


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A heart-wrenching, but illuminating study of a man's slow, but inevitable fall from an active life as an anthropology professor to one of a quadriplegic. Starting with some minor health difficulties, the author discovers that he has a spinal tumor. Thus begins a chronicle of degradation and treatment recorded with great clearheadedness and courage; a piercing intelligence and soaring humanity reverberate throughout this Job-like tale. How Murphy musters his spiritual strength and manages to deal with the changes in his body functions will keep the reader riveted. Enfeebled, he attempts to live his life to the fullest (this book was written with the help of a prosthetic device); as he becomes a prisoner of his flesh, he takes up the cause of the disabled and becomes an advocate for' their rights. Medical buffs will find a complete record of treatment written with admirable objectivity. However, it is the desperate struggle to maintain his self-respect in the face of humiliating bodily changes and social rejection that makes this such a compelling personal story. Murphy is a tough nut, but the face he shows the world is tempered with extraordinary self awareness. He uses humor, avoids complaints and hides the personal hell that could destroy friends and family. This is not an easy book and it will not soothe. It is rigorous, haunting and true. Only the brave will appreciate the delicate steel that is at its heart.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1987
Publisher: Henry Holt