Book review: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Near-Death Experiences

by P.M.H. Atwater with David H. Morgan


I promised to work on a couple more books about the afterlife, and wanted to include this one. I went through a period a while back where I grew fascinated by studies of life after death, and delved into a number of different approaches to the topic. Scientific studies, though woefully inadequate to date, make for fascinating reading. I think we’re just wired that way.

I read about hauntings, claims of reincarnation, visits to heaven and hell, séances, and just general paranormal events. (My computer just changed my misspelling of “paranormal” to “paranoia;” a reasonable faux pas.) More unproven than scientific, these books nevertheless kept me entertained. There is, however, one subtopic that stands head-and-shoulders above the rest, as worthy of further study.

That’s near-death experiences (NDE’s). But it’s still difficult to locate an unbiased  treatment. So biased are both the believers and the debunkers that it’s quite a challenge to sort out what’s legitimate and what’s not.

This Idiot’s Guide proved to be a well-balanced introduction. It provides not only accounts of various NDEs, but science’s response. Then, the debunkers are debunked, and finally the religious get their say on the matter too. (NDE’s do not always support our religious beliefs; in fact, the stories of NDE’s tend to irritate exclusivists who can’t stomach the idea that non-believers share the same often-glorious experiences.)


PLEASE NOTE: The author has contacted me to explain that this book has been out of print for some time, and that it was replaced by what she considers a much better publication: The Big Book of Near Death Experiences.

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