It's hard not to warm to Sam Parnia. A young jobbing doctor, he became increasingly fascinated by what happens to people after death. Specfically he was interested in finding out what truth - if any - there is behind Near Death Experiences.
His coup was in persuading Southampton Hospital to allow a full-on research study into the phenomenon, persuading them to put up suspended boards across the hospital (if anyone reported floating above the bed, could they then read what was the other side of the boards?!) However, funding meant it was only a very small scale study, and reading this book confirms that there is a long way to go before anything close to proof is achieved, one way or the other.
Parnia makes a good introduction to the various theories surrounding the genuine mystery of what consciousness is, and his logic in dealing with these theories is largely persuasive. It is a very readable book to the non-medical and the non-scientific, very occasionally he perhaps simplifies or over-dramatises.
What is perhaps the most powerful section of the book is the individual stories of NDEs. Some, especially from impossibly young children, are utterly extraordinary, while several reports made by from sober, highly experienced surgeons working in the heart of the medical establishment are particularly persuasive. I hope this is not the last we hear of Sam Parnia and his work, and that funds are found to allow for a full study. After all, it's hard to imagine any subject being more relevant to all mankind than what happens to us all after death...