A note from the person who maintains this blog: Almost exactly a year ago, a dear of friend of mine walked out on to the Golden Gate Bridge, sent a text asking that her dog be cared for and jumped. If the publication of The Final Leap deters a single troubled person from making the same decision, it will be most important book we’ve published all year. On with the post.
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most beautiful and most photographed structures in the world. It’s also the most deadly. Since it opened in 1937, more than 1,500 people have died jumping off the bridge, making it the top suicide site on earth. It’s also the only international landmark without a suicide barrier. Weaving drama, tragedy, and politics against the backdrop of a world-famous city, The Final Leap is the first book ever written about Golden Gate Bridge suicides. John Bateson leads us on a fascinating journey that uncovers the reasons for the design decision that led to so many deaths, provides insight into the phenomenon of suicide, and examines arguments for and against a suicide barrier. He tells the stories of those who have died, the few who have survived, and those who have been affected—from loving families to the Coast Guard, from the coroner to suicide prevention advocates.
On the newest UC Press podcast, Chris Gondek talks to John Bateson about the experiences that lead him to write The Final Leap.
And for additional context, here’s a short review from the San Jose Mercury News.