It took award-winning journalist and ferocious sceptic Tom Shroder many years to persuade Dr Ian Stevenson--a distinguished psychiatrist and scholar who has travelled the world investigating and documenting more than 2,000 cases of young children who speak of remembering past lives--to allow him to observe his field of research. But, eventually Stevenson agreed to allow the cynical, hard-nosed journalist to accompany him first to the Lebanon, then to India and finally to the American South as he continued his research into this remarkable phenomena. And the result--Old Souls
--is extraordinary. Of course, like Shroder, many are justifiably sceptical of the idea of reincarnation; after all, how often have we read of adults who, after being regressed under hypnosis, suddenly decide that they were once Cleopatra? But Stevenson's subjects--small children who, from the moment they can talk, spontaneously speak of past lives, beg to be taken "home", pine for husbands, lovers, children from another life--do not speak of vague lives from centuries ago but instead are able to give details of specific, identifiable, ordinary individuals who may have died merely months, weeks or hours before the birth of the child in question. Shroder, the journalist, constantly questions the discoveries: what if the parent had somehow suggested the idea to the child? What if the child had somehow picked up on the story of someone's death? What if the culture into which they were born encourages the idea of reincarnation? But Shroder, the man, struggles to hang on to his scepticism as Stevenson's plodding, methodical and repetitious modus operandi throws up more and more evidence to suggest that the children are telling the truth. Old Souls
is a study of scientific evidence for past lives. It is also a study of a man whose dogged research into reincarnation has spanned more than three decades. But most importantly it is the story of children across the world whose lives are touched by a phenomenon that most of us will never truly understand. Be prepared to have your mind opened. --Susan Harrison
"Chicago Tribune" Whether or not you believe, but especially if you're a born skeptic, you'll be in good company sharing the travels of author Tom Shroder...."Old Souls" is quietly mind-boggling.