Death Be Not Proud

Death Be Not Proud

by John J. Gunther


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Johnny Gunther was only seventeen years old when he died of a brain tumor. During the months of his illness, everyone near him was unforgettably impressed by his level-headed courage, his wit and quiet friendliness, and, above all, his unfaltering patience through times of despair. This deeply moving book is a father's memoir of a brave, intelligent, and spirited boy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061230974
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/03/2007
Series: P.S. Series
Edition description: New
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 75,818
Product dimensions: 7.98(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.55(d)
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

John Gunther (1901-1970) was one of the best known and most admired journalists of his day. The author of the immensely popular Inside books—a series of profiles of major world powers, beginning with Inside Europe, published in 1936—he was born on the north side of Chicago and died on May 29, 1970.

What People are Saying About This

William L. Shirer

"What a tribute to the fortitude, the beauty and the invincibility of the human spirit!"

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Death Be Not Proud (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 73 reviews.
AlanaH6 More than 1 year ago
When you think about death, what comes to mind? Death drags along so many images and feelings; it's difficult to pin on just one. Some people think of sadness, tears, heart-break, and grief- lots of grief. This is definitely not the case for Johnny Gunther in Death Be Not Proud. Before I was even half way through the book, the resilience of young Johnny already amazed me. When vulnerably exposed to the face of death, he somehow manages to keep a positive perspective on life. "Almost always when I called him early in the morning to ask how he was feeling, he would answer, no matter how feeble his voice was, 'Simply marvelous!'" (39). This book is meant for anyone- young, old or somewhere in between- who could use a bit of hope in their lives because Gunther portrays that element very well throughout his story. He expands on the tiniest details and re-lives those glorious moments for readers, "What a blessed day it was when, with great shouts of glee, Johnny was allowed a real shampoo!" (81). Why on earth would anyone get excited about using this every-day toiletry? Johnny knew the answer to that question which displays to audiences his full grasp on life and longing to enjoy every aspect of it. Occasionally, parts seemed dull and maybe even repetitive. The common scene of doctor, after doctor, after doctor is recurrent but I cannot argue with that fact mostly because much of Johnny's final months were doing just that! Some might argue that Gunther's closeness to this case might fog the view on his son's death. But I am convinced that his close proximity to each event taken place made it possible to produce such a well-descripted, emotion-packed piece of work. I highly recommend this memoir to anyone looking for a new perspective on life or just wants a touching read.
dustinwagnerp1 More than 1 year ago
This book was inspiring because Johnny Gunther Jr. was a young boy who was diagnosed with brain cancer when he was in his teens. Since this is the year 1943 the doctors don't know very many things about the certain type of cancer that he had. Although he had half of his brain removed he could still move around and do stuff one of the most amazing things that he did was when he had to finish 43 labs in one week he did because he worked hard in it and if he hadn't have died in the summer then he would have been enrolled in Harvard in the fall. This book really motivated me telling me that anybody can do anything as long as they believe in themselves that they can do it then they can do it. This is shown in when the doctors say that he only has a year to live and he fights with the cancer super hard and he winds up living an extra three months. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to get inspired.
Social_Heel More than 1 year ago
Death Be Not Proud resonates with me on many different levels. Without going into personal matters, as a teenager, this book quickly became my favorite. It's the personal recount of a father, John Gunther, struggling with his terminally ill son, Johnny, inflicted with a brain tumor. It's about the unstoppable nature parents posses to save their child, regardless of how silly or inconceivable the strategy might seem. Diets to starve the tumor. Gas to shrink it. It's about searching for answers that no one has. Through this entire ordeal, Johnny, has an unwavering passion for life. While his body suffers the effects of the procedures and the tumor, his mind does not. That is something special I keep referring back to. For Johnny, with an IQ off the charts, letters to Albert Einstein at 16 or 17 years old, and taking on course loads that had never been entertained at his school, his mind was one of his greatest gifts. As his father points out, it's ironic that the best feature of Johnny was the one that was being attacked. Of course, identifying something as best is all relative. I would suggest his heart was his best feature. I applaud Gunther for writing this tribute to Johnny. With this book, Johnny's memory can now last in the minds of millions, not just the few that had the privilege to actually know this special young man.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I literally just finished reading this memoir at three in the morning. Not only the style with which Gunther writes but also the story behind it all and Johnny's experience itself, combine to make this memoir truly life changing. No more can be said about this book that I would recommend to anyone who asks.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Death Be Not Proud was a very emotional novel, that really draws the reader in with its heartbreaking plot. The story is about the author¿s son, who died at the age of 17 after a fourteen month illness caused by a brain tumor. This novel really changes your view on life, and how much we take for granted things dear to us. The struggle for life or death and the determination this little boy has is awe inspiring and could possibly benefit how you live your life tomorrow and for the rest of you life.
paulinaturnsthepages on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Death Be Not Proud, is a very melancholic and mournful book about Gunther a teenage boy who has a brain tumor at the age of only 17. This book really touched me since my godfather, has the same condition of glioblastoma. Gunther was a young smart boy with many aspirations of becoming successful in his life and really how much enthusiasm to others. He is a courageous young spirit who you will see on throughout the book and he even tries to get the girl of his dreams. This book really shows you how life's important and you should always treasure every last breath you take. The memoir has many snippets from Gunther's journal and his mom and dad's sort of point of view. It's a really good read, and I'm hardly emotional yet it made me cry. When Johnny gets more sick, you still see the light shine through his soul. Johnny's father wanted Johnny's courage and hope to live so he published the book. It's a very whole-hearted story and you really absorb everything what Johnny is feeling. It's just something about adolescene dying young that just really washes a whole gloomy expression on my face. No child should ever go through what Johnny did. It just made me unconfortable about how raw it was during his illness.Let Johnny's spirit be free.- Paulina
nicole_a_davis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A touching story, but lacking emotion.
silkentent on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I first read this book in 1964. Back then it was about a boy my age who died. I read it again in 2000 when my fifteen-year-old daughter read it for school. And the book had changed -- now it was about a parent my age who lost a child my child's age. John Gunther was trained as a journalist in the first half of the twentieth century. Very personal memoirs about an emotional experience were not the style at all then. This book is an early example of the genre, and I can see Gunther's training on every page. Even with the restraint, it is a powerful testament by a parent who has suffered the ultimate tragedy.
chocolatechip on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
this book is really depressing, i kept getting freaked out after reading it, looking for any sign that i might have cancer
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written. Very touching. Johnnie sounds like he was a remarkable young man. Mr. Gunther let us experience those last months of his son's life and it made me sad to know a boy with such spirit died so young.
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I wish Johny didn't have to die!!!!!!!!!!!! He was such a good person and he wanted to live more than anything. It scares me knowing it could happen to anyone. I noticed that there was nothing written about the parents' feelings. In the end it says they had a daughter who died before she turned 1, which means they lost both their children:(
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