Books chronicling near-death experiences, like Betty J. Eadie's recent best seller, Embraced by the Light (Gold Leaf Pr., 1992), tend to find an eager audience among readers who are fascinated by psychic phenomena or who seek assurance of an afterlife. With its detailed examples of near-death experiences ranging from ecstatic to hellish, this book will surely find a receptive audience too. About half the book is devoted to the apparent aftereffects on near-death survivors, including psychological and physiological changes as well as enhanced psychic powers. In contrast to this work, Susan Blackmore provides a more skeptical and scholarly approach in Dying To Live: Near-Death Experiences (Prometheus Bks, 1993). Whereas Atwater presents all reported phenomena as evidence of an afterlife, Blackmore offers explanations based on the natural biological responses of a dying brain. Most public libraries would do well to have both books.-Ilse Heidmann Ali, Kyle Community Lib., Tex. Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information.Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews
Claiming to be a three-time near-death survivor, Atwater ( Coming Back to Life ) presents this study of near-death experience based on 700 interviews she conducted. She questions the accounts of a ``tunnel of light accompanied by feelings of well-being'' frequently reported; rather, she discusses the ``hell-like'' experiences she has discovered. She also delves into the psychological and physiological aftereffects--the ``brain is physically changed after a near-death episode.'' Unfortunately, Atwater does not clearly define death; only at times is she is in accord with the medical definition. The text roams over areas of theology, metaphysics and even touches on space aliens and their possible role in near-death experiences, leaving the reader to wonder how any of this applies to our spiritual development, as Atwater claims. Illustrations. 35,000 first printing. (July) Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information.
A three-time survivor provides an analysis of the phenomenon through interviews with other survivors and their loved onesReview by Publisher Summary 2
A three-time survivor, the author of Coming Back to Life: The After Effects of the Near-Death Experience provides an in-depth analysis of this phenomenon through interviews with other survivors and their loved ones. Tour.Review by Publisher Summary 3
P. M. H. Atwater is unique in this world. As both a near-death survivor and a near-death researcher, she brings a remarkable perspective to her work. Her first book, Coming Back to Life caused a major controversy in the field of near-death studies, and Beyond the Light promises to do the same.It presents the most in-depth and comprehensive look at the near-death phenomenon, its after-effects and implications. She challenges the stereotype of the "amazing grace" near-death experience of a tunnel of light accompanied by a feeling of well-being. Atwater has provocative evidence of many different types of experiences, including those that are hell-like as well as transcendent. She also discusses and contrasts the experiences of those people who were dead for several days and then revived, those who attempted suicide, and the similarities and differences between near-death experiences and hallucinations.Atwater was the first near-death researcher to find that the experience changed the brain's physiology, actually altering its structure. While she was criticized for this bold assertion, subsequent findings have proved her correct. Beyond the Light provocatively probes the "electrical sensitivity" that follows near-death episodes as well as the now-acknowledged "brain-shifts," and considers how these findings might change our very notion of mortality.Atwater has interviewed hundreds who have experienced near-death and their loved-ones and friends. Her conclusions and observations will challenge our assumptions about what we consider life, death, and the existence and evolution of the individual soul. Like almost everyone who has experienced near-death, Atwater has come away spiritually charged with a mission to share her perceptions and sensations. Beyond the Light is about nightmares as well as miracles, joy as well as deep despair. Atwater makes a compelling case that near-death provides us with a fascinating window on one of life's greatest unknowns and sets the stage for our reexamination of what it means to be alive...and dead. Beyond the Light also contains a thorough and exhaustively researched resource section for those looking for further reading and guidance to an understanding of this fascinating field of study.