The Denial of Death

  • by Ernest Becker
  • Narrated by Raymond Todd
  • 11 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1974 and the culmination of a life's work, The Denial of Death is Ernest Becker's brilliant and impassioned answer to the "why" of human existence. In bold contrast to the predominant Freudian school of thought, Becker tackles the problem of the vital lie: man's refusal to acknowledge his own mortality. In doing so, he sheds new light on the nature of humanity and issues a call to life and its living that still resonates more than 30 years after its writing.

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What the Critics Say

"A brave work of electrifying intelligence and passion, optimistic and revolutionary, destined to endure." (New York Times Book Review)
"Ranks among the truly important books of the year. Professor Becker writes with power and brilliant insight." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Symbology is central to all human behavior

Where does The Denial of Death rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The subject is the best, the performance by the reader is OK. Becker's book explains many of the symbols used in society and cultures to attach "meaning" to our lives. It's a fascinating study of human behavior and explains many of the polarizations in the world.


What did you like best about this story?

Becker was on his deathbed when his manuscript arrived at the publisher. The publisher rushed to his home to spend the last few hours with him. The poignancy of this moment is not lost on the publisher, nor the reader. As Becker faced his own death, his insights were enhanced and more clear.


What three words best describe Raymond Todd’s voice?

Subtle. Slow. Unemotive.


What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

That man is basically animal. And, as the knowledge of our differences to animal (thought, emotion, rationale thought, opposable thumbs, design and intention) we created symbols to attach meaning to our lives. As we denied our own mortality the creation of symbols, heros and God's became a necessary coping mechanism. However, those same symbols (religion, nationality, race, gender, sports teams, etc.) became our undoing as we reified them and gave them power. This power has been used and abused over the millennia to manipulate and control the masses.


Any additional comments?

Read this book. So many aspects of the human existence become more clear.

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- Nils-Michael

Brillant, Timeless and Riveting

Where does The Denial of Death rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the deepest and yet very accessible books that I have ever heard. Since listening to it I have purchased the book and read it cover to cover. Superb.


What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Too many to mention. I believe each person who listens to this book will be moved and permanently changed.


Have you listened to any of Raymond Todd’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

He is very good. Reads quickly and clearly.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Loved the stories regarding Freud and Jung. Enlightening


Any additional comments?

A must read if you are interested in the core of our human being. This book absolutely deserved the Pulitzer Prize.

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- D. Raynal

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-17-2005
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.