I imagine that most people have at least heard of near-death experiences (NDE), but author Erika Hayasaki does a fine job of summarizing current knowledge about the subject, and making it more personal with the experience one of her uncles had after a heart attack.
Near-death experiences have been reported for many years, but the scientific and medical communities are finally beginning to take the phenomenon seriously, and a number of studies have been done, with some of these ongoing now. For example, since many people who have died and been resuscitated reported that they were weightless and floating above their body, one current study has pictures placed in hospital rooms in locations that only someone who was almost to the ceiling could see. It's a long shot, but if a resuscitated patient does identify one of the pictures, it could be the hard evidence to validate the experiences that many have reported.
But the author doesn't only report on various studies and reported experiences. It got personal when she interviewed her Uncle Richard about his experience after a heart attack two decades ago, when he stated that he briefly joined a community of brilliant lights, like a "zillion, zillion stars in one place."
The author gave a fairly balanced look at NDE, including the views of professionals who believe the phenomenon can be explained through traditional neurophysiologic or psychological factors. There's even a bit of humor, as in comedian Jeff Foxworthy's story of the fish who had a near-death experience and lived to tell his buddies about it.
"Dead or Alive" is a fascinating look at what we know about the near-death experience. With 677 Kindle locations, it's about the length of an extended magazine article, and is an excellent introduction to a topic of interest to many people.