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Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience
Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience
by Pim van Lommel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on NDEs and consciousness to date, 25 Nov. 2012
I have read many books on NDEs, including the excellent The Handbook of Near-death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation. Consciousness Beyond Life is the best I have read to date. This is not only because of the rigorous scientific discussion it presents, with a full explanation of the prospective NDE study published in the Lancet in 2001, but also because it dares to explore a bigger and better scientific paradigm than the tired old materialist reductionist views we constantly hear in the media.

The description of the Pam Reynolds NDE story (in 1991) is the clearest I have read; van Lommel brings all the salient details of her brain operation together and demonstrates that Pam Reynold's experience could only have happened during the time when there was no circulation in her brain. (A precise record of the operation by Dr Spetzler and team was kept with the timings of each procedure, and Pam's NDE description is mapped to that.)

By taking seriously the reports of NDEs experienced by his patients and by people such as Pam Reynolds, van Lommel found he was compelled to look for new answers to the "problem" of consciousness in other areas of science. NDEs pose serious questions for health practitioners and challenge all of us to question the notion that consciousness is generated by the brain. This book provides a fascinating journey through centuries of scientific and cultural literature with a life-affirming hypothesis at its core: our consciousness cannot die, no matter what becomes of our bodies.

I was surprised by the sheer scope of the research presented - cardiology, physiology, neuroscience, genetics, medical ethics, philosophy, quantum mechanics, string theory - and all very clearly explained for the lay reader. Such care has been taken throughout to ground the concepts as they are developed and to summarise the arguments, with numbered references and a helpful glossary and bibliography. I'm especially grateful for the references to and quotations from many writers I have yet to discover, such as Frederik van Eeden, Henri Stapp, Dag Hammarskjoeld, and Marie de Hennezel. This is science writing for the public at its best.

A Study in Survival: Conan Doyle Solves the Final Problem
A Study in Survival: Conan Doyle Solves the Final Problem
by Roger Straughan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming communications through books, 25 Sept. 2012
Bibliophiles will love this book, as it provides a wonderful justification for keeping a large collection of your favourite author's tomes. What is remarkable about Straughan's collection of Conan Doyle books is that it can speak to his condition. He is using his collection in a similar way to using the Bible for random inspiration (many have tried this during spare moments in hotels with a copy of Gideon's Bible...), only in Straughan's case he first poses a question. The "responses" he finds are often incredibly close to the mark and his "hits" appear to be well above normal probability.

This is an uplifting and enjoyable read, and it raises interesting questions about the nature of existence, consciousness and the afterlife.

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