- MP3 CD
- Publisher: Brilliance Audio; MP3 Una edition (26 Jun. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1480532959
- ISBN-13: 978-1480532953
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.3 x 17.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,303,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife
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The general reader's ideal emissary to the arcana of serious science. . . . Roach's writing has what science has so far failed to find: a divine spark. --Malcolm Jones
Surreal, fascinating, at times absurd and always hilarious, Mary Roach may not reveal the street address of our final destination, but in Spook she makes it sound less like a morgue and more like a comedy club. --Vince Darcangelo
Funny and smart... since she's a scientist at heart, she also lasers through the smoke and mirrors.
Reading Spook is like attending a lecture by a professor who is equal parts Groucho Marx and Stephen Jay Gould, both enlightening and entertaining. --Dorman T. Schindler
Investigative reporting has no lighter, more irreverent spirit than Mary Roach. . . . Spook is enormous fun. --David A Walton"
Surreal, fascinating, at times absurd and always hilarious, Mary Roach may not reveal the street address of our final destination, but in Spook she makes it sound less like a morgue and more like a comedy club. --Vince Darcangelo"
Reading Spook is like attending a lecture by a professor who is equal parts Groucho Marx and Stephen Jay Gould, both enlightening and entertaining. --Dorman T. Schindler"
The general reader s ideal emissary to the arcana of serious science. . . . Roach s writing has what science has so far failed to find: a divine spark.--Malcolm Jones"
Dependably witty, especially when it ventures far into the ether. . . . [Roach] makes a clever investigator and a thoroughly entertaining, if skeptical, tour guide.--Janet Maslin
Funny and smart... since she's a scientist at heart, she also lasers through the smoke and mirrors. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Mary Roach is the author of Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, and Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. Her writing has appeared in Outside, Wired, National Geographic, and the New York Times Magazine, among others. She lives in Oakland, California. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Mary Roach sets out, not to discover the answers to these questions since such a thing would be well-nigh impossible (especially in less than 300 pages) but to explore the questions themselves. She visits medium schools and ghost-hunters, parapsychologists, doctors, quantum physicists, asking these very questions and investigating the various explanations, studies and research being done in these areas. Picking this book up I didn't expect to bounce from new-age mediums to quantum mechanics in a single chapter, but somehow it all works.
Despite the weighty nature of the topic, this is an enjoyable and whimsical romp through the science (or pseudo-science, depending on your view) of the afterlife. Roach herself is a skeptic and her tone is throughout is humourous and cynical. It makes for a fine, entertaining read that still manages to explore some fairly heavy topics and raise more questions than it answers. Roach's conclusion, akin to mine, is that perhaps there is an explanation for all of these phenomena and science simply hasn't yet caught up to it. Or perhaps there are simply 'more things in heaven and earth', as Hamlet said...
And the book it's okay, it revolves a lot about the subjects.
But, then... I always found the tone of the book to be excessively skeptical.
The thing is that it always tries to find a scientific explanation for everything, even if sometimes forceful.
I mean, it goes to say that all of the paranormal stuff is scientifically explainable - even if by the mental issues of the people who claim it - and doesn't allow much of free space for the contraditory.
Even so, it's a very fun read and if you like Mary Roach, you'll like this book. Go for it.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Love her writing!
Each section ('chapter' would be a misnomer , as they tend to be 20 - 30 pages in length) examines different methodologies of 'studying,' using what seems to be a generally loose version of the scientific method, the afterlife. The book begins in an anticlimactic fashion, with Roach's journey to follow an Indian researcher, who seeks to interview and categorize supposed instances of reincarnation. It is unfortunate that this chapter is the first delve into the material, as of all the sections, it seems to be the unflattering odd-duck: it is slow, verbose, and not as sharp with its language.
The book goes on to considerably better itself in subsequent chapters. In contrast to "Stiff," "Spook" improves throgh the course of the book, the humor never becomes forced. The greater inclusion of her opinions, thoughts, and foibles. Roach explores studies of the afterlife ranging from the infamous '21 gram' experiment, to scientists studying the effect of electromagnetic and infrasound upon the human brain. She is brazen with her mistakes and is never aloof with her viewpoints. Rather than blindly following, or outright denying, what is presented throughout the book, she is objective with her analysis.
Roach is talented at writing, for sure, and the inclusion of tangential stories and factoids keep the material fresh. The footnotes are not to be missed: each contains a snippet of Roach's wry, delightful insight paired with a quasi-related factoid. Indeed, the footnotes remain a gem of the book, housing some of the funnier tales of Roach's research.
My own praise aside, there are a few shortfalls to "Spook." First, Mary Roach is evidently at the the very start of her foray into the afterlife (even explicitely stating such in the epilogue). Her explanations for experiments read considerably differently than her usual prose: this literary behavior indicates (to me, at least) that she is pulling her definitions from other sources, and only superficially rewriting them. While Roach is clearly comfortable with her own prose, her tone shifts dramatically when it comes to explaining more in-depth science. The book,as well, tends to lack in any in-depth analysis. Roach is candid with her responses and reactions, but only superficially examines the experiment setups. She is slow to question or needle her subjects on their work, which makes her ultimate conclusions about the different scientists and experiments somewhat questionable.
Overall, a worthwhile read which delves into some very interesting subject matter. It is light on the 'heavy science,' and tends to fall into the tried-and-true regiment of anectdotes and witty commentary. Does it answer, then, the 'ultimate' question? ...Not entirely. Even if the 'ultimate' answer waffles from person to person, it's sure a lot of fun getting there.