Top critical review
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on 27 May 2006
This book is something of an oddity. Though a fairly enjoyable read, it leaves you with the impression of a missed opportunity.
The spirit of the physically deceased First World War soldier, James Legett, comes across as a simple, decent, yet rather accepting fellow. He has a tendency, as you might expect of a soldier conditioned by war, to accept what he is told and asked to do, no questions asked. Although this may be beneficial to Legett's spiritual development it's of debatable value to the reader searching for answers.
For example, on one occasion Legett asks his spiritual guide, Chan, about the nature of reincarnation. He is then whisked off to a very brief and extremely unintelligible lecture on the subject. Emerging afterwards, Legett, (rather like this reader) says that most of it went `over his head', but instead of asking more questions, simply lets the matter lie.
Elsewhere, there are aspects of the spiritual existence described that are very hard to swallow. Are we really to believe, for example, that Shakespeare is still writing plays for public entertainment, some 400 years after his death?! (This prompts the questions as to whether actors continue their vocation in the afterlife and more worryingly whether we will have to endure the eternal curse of celebrity?!)
Also, that existence on the fifth astral plane is, for at least some inhabitants, so thoroughly bland - little detached cottages in a quaint English-style countryside, where people potter around in their gardens and occasionally `spoil themselves' with a cup of tea!
I was also disappointed that very little information was provided to explain how the book was written. We are told that Legett sent Turoff information in the form of symbolic imagery. One then wonders how much artistic license did Turoff exhibit through his interpretation. Though I found myself willing to give Turoff the benefit of the doubt (perhaps due to the `innocent', natural, prose style), I still felt much of the book simply didn't `ring true'.
As there seems to be no independent verification of the factual information or the process by which the information was conveyed, the book (as it stands) cannot be said to be representative of evidence, (to be fair, it was probably not intended as such). This is in no way a criticism of the integrity of Stephen Turoff as a `psychic surgeon' of which I am ignorant.
The book is rather short and ends very abruptly. There is no coverage of how and why Legett contacted Turoff, nor does there seem to be enough of a story to cover the 90 or so years of Legett's after death existence. Huge chunks of time, comparative to the physical plane, seem to be missed or lack any interesting developments; (the events given would seem to fill a couple of `earth' years experience at most).
Not unlike the majority of material on this subject, this book prompts far more questions than it provides answers - who knows -maybe that's the way it's meant to be?