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Light and Death Paperback – November 11, 1998

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Editorial Reviews


Begun in 1994, the Atlanta Study is the first comprehensive investigation of its kind into near death experiences (NDEs). The study’s name hardly captures what lies behind it: life-and-death dramas played out in operating rooms and hospital beds—and simultaneous events unseen by medical personnel but reported with astonishing clarity and conviction by nearly 50 individuals who returned from death’s door.

Now the founder of the Atlanta Study, Dr. Michael Sabom, shares his findings. A leading authority with over twenty years in the field of NDEs, Dr. Sabom reveals their impact on the people who have experienced them. From both medical and personal perspectives, he shares the electrifying stories of men and women from all walks of life and religious persuasions. He explores the clinical effect of the NDE on survival and healing and discloses surprising findings. He questions some common conclusions about NDEs. And he scrutinizes near death experiences in the light of what the Bible has to say about death and dying, the realities of light and darkness, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ -- Publisher

From the Publisher

Combining scientific research and dramatic narrative, Light and Death is the first book to seriously explore the relationship of near-death experiences and traditional Christian faith.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (November 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310219922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310219927
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #280,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Sabom is a cardiologist in private practice and on staff at Northside and Saint Joseph's Hospitals in Atlanta, GA. His first book, Recollections of Death: A Medical Investigation, is considered to be a landmark in the field of near-death research. He has been featured on ABC's 20-20, NBC's Dateline, CBS's 48 Hours, CNN-TV, and in Focus on the Family's Physician magazine and major newspapers nationwide.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Michael Tymn VINE VOICE on April 18, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Sabom presents a Christian perspective of the Near-Death Experience, citing many Bible passages that allude to the NDE. As a "liberal" Christian (by Sabom's definition), I found his "conservative" or fundamentalist Christian approach a bit puzzling and surprising; however, it was intriguing nonetheless. Most authors on the subject tend to go the other way, i.e., be overly objective for fear that they will appear unscientific and therefore unintelligent. Dr. Sabom clearly does not suffer from this ego hangup. There were a number of very interesting quotes by people who have had NDEs, not unsimilar to those given up by other authors on the NDE but each adds to the credibility of the NDE as something more than a mere hallucination of an oxygen-deprived brain.
There is an interesting chapter on prayer ("spiritual medicine at work").
The book will not appeal to the skeptic, but for those who are prepared to recognize the limits of science, it is an excellent read. I bought extra copies for my daughters, both registered nurses, hoping that Dr. Sabom's research and views will at least partially counterbalance the skeptical attitude of most doctors they come in contact with.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Julio C. S. Barros aka Julio Siqueira on August 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
book review:

Well, first about the book as a whole: many reviewers have complained that in this book Sabom decided to fight for his religion using material he gathered from his studies on NDE's. Someone even pointed out that it was Zondervan publishing stuff, etc. That is an important point. Anyone buying this book should be warned about this. It is important to stress, though, that Sabom has all the right in the world to take this approach. What is a must is that the reader should know what he or she is buying.

So, I bought and read the book, and not because I like Sabom's approach. I bought and read it because of one case in the book. The case of Pam Reynolds (pseudonym). Chapter three and ten deal with this case, from a strictly descriptive and scientific point of view. No religious stuff. I didn't even bother to read any other passages of the book. The case is amazing. It is a strong challenge to the orthodox materialistic interpretation of the biological and neurological data available to science. Sabom describes the case in minute detail. And he discusses it, and NDE's in general (in chapter ten), very deeply and informatively too. He discusses the points advanced by Susan Blackmore in her 1993 book on the subject ("Dying to Live" - I have read this one too), and convincingly shows them to be very lacking. (It is a pitty that she has retired from these issues. She even commented about the Pam Reynolds case incorrectly in the recent years, seemingly not having read Sabom's book).

I have had the pleasure and the honor to discuss the content of this case both with "skeptics" and with "non skeptics". I discussed the strengths and weaknesses of this case with skeptic Keith Augustine and with parapsychology researcher Titus Rivas. The case is strong indeed.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By on November 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
Sabom is a world renowned researcher of near death experiences. Unlike a lot of other books on this fascinating subject, he approaches the topic as a cardiologist with scientific care and attention to detail. He makes no outlandinsh claims but presents a resoned case for NDEs as a spiritual experience (as opposed to a fluke of a malfunctioning brain).
He also explains the relatinship between an NDE and death itself, exploring the difficulty of defining death. A lot of the claims about the impact of an NDE are examined statistically (rather than anecdotally as so many others have done) and interestingly, found to be rather bogus. He even points out that NDEs are generally therapeutic--not that one would want one induced for their medicinal value!
This is a book full of interesting insights into what an NDE really is and what it suggests about life and death. It is unique in that it ends with an evaluation of the NDE in light of traditional Christian "theology"--and the NDE fares quite well. Christians may be a little suprised that the NDE can fit within their tradition, but Sabom does a thorough job of building his case.
If you have any interest in spirituality, NDEs, religion or the after-life you will, like me, find this book very fascinating and enjoyable. An articulate and convincing argument.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
Sabom's narrow definition of a traditional Christian may put off some readers -- I think about seven of the twelve apostles would have qualified. However, the one NDE by the patient who had her heart stopped, her body temperature lowered to 58 degrees, and her blood drained in connection with a delicate brain operation is worth the price of the book. Although I would qualify as a "liberal" Christian by Sabom's ten criteria, I am very sympathetic to the concern he expresses about certain NDE researchers (Ring, Moody) who seem to be moving in a direction where NDE experiences are blended with New Age beliefs to establish an "NDE theology" that may be superficially appealing but is at variance with traditional beliefs. Sabom's message seems to be that NDEs are scientifically credible evidence of the afterlife and can used to support Christian belief, but they must be viewed with discernment and cannot be indiscriminately accepted as messages from God. Definitely worth buying for the one NDE, even if you're a non-Christian.
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