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Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children's Memories of Previous Lives Hardcover – August 11, 2005

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Hardcover, August 11, 2005
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (August 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312321376
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312321376
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #643,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Is reincarnation possible? Tucker's book full of real-life evidence and an explanation of how quantum physics allows for it makes one think the better question may be Is it impossible? Basing his argument on a study of more than 40 years' duration into the lives, present and past, of more than 2,500 children, psychiatrist Tucker makes a pretty solid case in favor of reincarnation. He opens with the story of William, born five years after his policeman grandfather, John, was killed, with birth defects similar to John's fatal wounds. William was able, at three, to report John's last moments, of which he couldn't possibly have had any knowledge. Then there is the Turkish child who insisted on being called by the name of a man who had lived 50 miles away. Taken to the man's town, the child proceeded to the man's home and identified the man's parents in a roomful of people. All the stories were checked by scientist-interviewers, and all potential deception was eliminated; hence, Tucker introduces powerful grounds for credulous speculation. Donna Chavez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"In this very elegant book, Dr. Tucker offers the most convincing scientific evidence for the fact that our consciousness survives physical death.  And indeed, takes quantum leaps of creativity in the form of reincarnation.  The model that Dr. Tucker presents opens a new vision of who we are, limitless beings that fill up all of space and time."--Deepak Chopra, author of  Life After Death: The Burden of Proof
"[A][ solid case for reincarnation…. Tucker introduces powerful grounds for credulous speculation.”—Booklist

“Jim Tucker gives us a clear, concise and eminently rational insight into a 40 year investigation of what is unquestionably the best evidence for the existence of reincarnation. We are lucky to have in him a worthy successor to Ian Stevenson.”—TOM SHRODER, author of Old Souls: Compelling Evidence From Children Who Remember Past Lives


“Anyone with an open mind, on reading Dr. Jim B. Tucker's Life Before Life, will realize that our conventional concepts of life and death are ripe for revision.  The possibilities raised by this book for human destiny are as hopeful as the current view is grim.  Life Before Life is extraordinarily important.”—Larry Dossey, M.D., author of The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things, Reinventing Medicine, and Healing Words


“With his training as a pediatric psychiatrist, and the mind of an inquiring scientist, Dr. Jim Tucker takes a fresh look at one of life's most intriguing questions:   'Does consciousness survive death?'   Through the hundreds of case studies of his predecessor, Dr. Ian Stevenson, and his own cases, Dr. Tucker adds new insight to this amazing research, and draws us closer to understanding this perennial mystery.”—CAROL BOWMAN, author of Children’s Past Lives and Return From Heaven


Life Before Life adds to the increasingly impressive science of consciousness and the continuity of mind/memory…this book is the tip of an important iceberg that will continue to expand our knowledge of the spiritual reality of Life.”—C. NORMAN SHEALY, M.D., Ph.D., President, Holos University Graduate Seminary; Founding President, American Holistic Medical Association; author of Youthful Aging—Secret of the Fountain


Jim B. Tucker's fine presentation of Ian Stevenson's decades of rigorous scientific research into evidence of children's apparent past-life recollections expresses the true spirit of scientific skepticism, rather than the knee-jerk materialism that all too often waves that proud banner.”—B. ALAN WALLACE, President of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies

Customer Reviews

I thought this book was very interesting.
This book takes you methodically through individual cases of early childhood memories of past lives.
M. Alther
This book is a must read book in my opinion for anyone interested in past lives or reincarnation.
Kyle Philson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Sakellarios on May 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In "Life Before Life," Dr. Jim Tucker, successor to Dr. Ian Stevenson at the University of Virginia Division of Personality Studies, presents their work in a way that is rigorous enough for the scientific community, and yet readable by the lay audience. Dr. Tucker's approach is disarmingly straightforward, as he rationally examines all sides of the issue. In a non-threatening manner, he presents evidence which, if taken seriously, is inherently radical. Where I would characterize the stance of mainstream science with red flags like "in denial," Dr. Tucker calmly acknowledges that mainstream science is by nature conservative; where I would say something like "reincarnation has been proven, already, let's get on the stick," Dr. Tucker carefully explains what the alternative interpretations are, the extent to which they are plausible, and the extent to which they probably are not.

If it were possible to convince mainstream science with a calm, rational, non-threatening explanation, this book would do it. To borrow from something philosophy professor Dr. Robert Almeder told me when I interviewed him for "In Another Life," if it were possible to calmly and rationally explain to a man that his brother is a murderer, without his going into denial and ridiculing you, then Dr. Tucker is the man who could do it.

In short, the information is here. The work has been done, and the results are in. To use one of Dr. Stevenson's own analogies, the tennis player has hit the winning shot, and it was in-bounds. Now it is up to the scientific community, and the society at large, to come to grips with it. In order to do that, they will have to admit that much of our currently-accepted philosophy is wrong, psychology is wrong, genetics is wrong, and much more.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By D. Buxman TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Given my Lutheran upbringing, I've always been suspicious of claims of reincarnation. These feelings have been eroded lately with my study of Buddhism and a news report that I saw where a four year old boy clearly demonstrated memories of life as a World War II fighter pilot. As such, I was pleased to find this book. It's not your typical new age psuedo-science hodge-podge of anecdotal accounts, but rather is a legitimate scientific examination of the possibility of reincarnation, explored through children's accounts of past lives, usually starting around the age of 2 or 3 and fading around 7 or 8. Dr. Tucker has documented over 2,500 cases in countries all around the globe. He examines different types of accounts and attempts to address the various explanations for each.

While a book like this could come off about as exciting as reading the Yellow Pages, Dr. Tucker takes care to discuss interesting individual accounts in addition to explaining the results of his studies. If you have an open mind concerning reincarnation, this book will raise your awareness and provide you with the information necessary to develop your own informed opinion.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Martin A Hogan HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. Tucker has produced a sensible, straightforward book packed full of real-life evidence. With an easy narrative, he explains how quantum physics makes the possibilities real. There are more than forty years of research of over 2,500 children, in which Dr. Tucker gleams stories, both coincidental and precise, to support the very possibility of reincarnation. Dr. Tucker was trained as a pediatric psychiatrist and takes a very fresh look at this contentious subject. The book is very pragmatic and scientific in its approach of the subject. Some of the stories will make your hair stand on end, but one gets a real sense that reincarnation is not fantasy, but reality.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By M. M. Anderson on June 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This review is long overdue... One of the cases in Dr. Tucker's book involves members of my family. I was initially a bit leery about giving Dr. Tucker permission to use our story, even with the aliases. Unfortunately, I have learned from "sharing" that journalists often take liberties with the truth and that skeptics can muster a whole lot of cruel anger. I don't need convincing regarding reincarnation and my mission in life is not to convert doubters, so there was no reason for me to subject myself to another attack of skeptical criticism. Concerns notwithstanding, I like and respect Dr. Tucker immensely and gave him the go-ahead. I was not disappointed. He stuck to the facts while respecting my family's privacy. For that I am deeply appreciative. I am also grateful that Dr. Tucker has written such a wonderfully informative book, one that I am proud to share with my friends and family, both the believers and the cynics.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By World Music Fan on November 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this book over any other book on the subject of past lives. Dr. Tucker, who has taken over the practice since the passing of his predecessor Dr. Ian Stevenson began this project, researches and studies subjects using a scientific approach, which few others do such as Carol Bowman, at least she never mentions any in her book but instead just accepts people's claims. Dr. Stevenson's work was brilliant but this book removes the rather dry scientific case study approach and makes it more readable. What makes Tucker's stories amazing is the subjects are children between the ages of about 4 - 7 who remember previous lives that are verifiable because often the previous persons died shortly before these children were born. The studies take these children to villages or to families of the deceased to verify or "solve" the question of whether this person really is the deceased person incarnate. The stories will astound you and have you convinced that we've most likely all been here before and will no doubt be here again.
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