Most Helpful First | Newest First
62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 Years of NDE Research,
This review is from: The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation (Hardcover)BOOK REVIEW
by Ken R. Vincent, Ed.D., author of VISIONS OF GOD FROM THE NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE
THE HANDBOOK OF NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES: THIRTY YEARS OF INVESTIGATION (2009) Holden, J. M., Greyson, B., & James, D.
This book commemorates research into near-death experience (NDE) that has transpired since the publication of Raymond Moody's classic book LIFE AFTER LIFE in 1975. Its content is based on material presented at the International Association of Near-Death Studies (IANDS) Conference at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, in 2006.
The editors, who form a near-death studies' "dream team" are: Bruce Greyson, M. D., professor of psychiatry and Director of the University of Virginia Medical School's Division of Perceptual Studies (the premiere center for scientific research into life after death); Jan Holden, Ed.D., Professor of Counseling at the University of North Texas and Interim Chair of the Department of Counseling and Higher Education and an expert in all research done on NDEs since 1877; Debbie James, R. N., Senior Instructor of Nursing at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Nursing Education Department who has orchestrated almost all of the IANDS conferences ever held.
Normally an edited book that is based on a conference is simply a collection of the papers presented. However, this handbook of NDEs is a much more cohesive and coherent product due to the extensive editing and consolidation of the presented topics. The editors have successfully presented the exhaustive data in a logical and smooth, readable style.
The first chapter covers scientific NDE research for the past 150 years. The second chapter is a presentation of pleasurable adult NDEs, followed by a chapter on after-effects of pleasurable NDEs.
In my opinion, Chapter 4 on distressing NDEs is one of the most important in the book. Its author, Nancy Evans Bush, is the world's foremost expert on the "dark side" of NDEs, and she has data! In her analysis of 21 studies (N = 1,828), 9 of the studies had no distressing NDEs, but the other 12 had a 23% rate of distressing NDEs. One of her blockbuster findings is that - not just "evil" people - but anyone can face a "time of trial." In this sense, the distressing NDE mimics the ordeals mentioned in the afterlife and mystical experiences of the world's religions.
Chapter 5 deals with NDEs of Western children and teenagers. This is followed by Chapter 6 on Western NDE characteristics.
In Chapter 7 on non-Western NDEs, Allan Kellehear argues that the "tunnel" sensation and "life review" are not universal, although encountering deceased and/or supernatural beings is. The main problem with this material is that (with the exception of the Chinese and Indian data that do include a "life review"), the numbers for hunter-gatherer societies are miniscule and, in some instances, whole cultures are represented by a single case study.
Chapter 8 on world religions and the NDE is a treasure with its author, Farnaz Masumian, comparing the NDE with seven of the world's religions. Masumian quotes chapter and verse from the Holy Books of these religions to show their similarity and, occasionally, minor differences regarding afterlife and the NDE.
Chapter 9 covers veridical perception and NDEs. Jan Holden reviews the modern literature on apparently non-physical veridical perception (AVP). Holden notes that attempts to place targets in hospitals for NDErs to see during their out-of-body experiences have, to date, been unsuccessful; however, the shear volume of AVP anecdotes described by a number of authors over the last 150 years suggests that the AVP is real (p. 197).
Chapter 10 deals with explanatory models of NDEs and is written by Bruce Greyson, Emily Williams Kelly, and Edward Kelly. They offer a mountain of data to counter the claims of skeptics. They also point out that, in many cases, the skeptics have only "explanations." In virtually all cases, the authors counter with data.
The final chapter deals with practical applications of research on NDEs and is written with medical personnel, mental health personnel, and chaplains in mind.
This book is a "must-read" for anyone who is interested in the facts about research into NDEs.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YES, FINALLY.,
This review is from: The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation (Hardcover)Yes, this book is that good. This book is a real breath of fresh air, an amazing piece of intellectual discourse and accurate summation of the current status of NDE research. For those that like DATA and not gobbeldygoop non-sense arguments conjured up from intellectual abstraction, THIS is the book for you. I especially enjoyed the paper on adressing the dying-brain hypothesis based explanatory models for NDEs. Finally, someone willing to stick ardently to the data in order to prove a point, what a change.
The book for the serious or casual researcher and skeptic.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Book,
This review is from: The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation (Hardcover)A very comprehensive look at NDEs (near-death experiences) from several different authors. The book can be a bit dry--it's much more on the scientific rather than metaphysical or spiritual side of things. Nonetheless, it is solid. It answers most NDE-related questions and then some.
Unfortunately, one finds while reading that the study of NDEs often falls victim to a lack of evidence and field studies--that is, NDE studies are very young and need much more work.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing BUT a bit biased,
Very valuably, you got a literature review on cross-cultural reports of these experiences. This is in Chapter 7, by Professor Allan Kellehear. This is the gem of the book. PLEASE READ THIS CHAPTER FIRST if you do choose to buy and read this book. This is the most objective and least biased part of the book. Very scholarly indeed.
Every reader will have his or her own view. I am a medical specialist practising in Australia. (I am also a Christian and believe in afterlife). Reading scientific journals is part of my daily activities. From my own (probably biased) point of view, I find this book on the whole biased towards the assumption that near-death experiences may serve as "evidence" suggestive of an afterlife. There CLEARLY is an alternative interpretation. As pointed out in Chapter 10, CURRENT models of consciousness could not explain near-death experiences satisfactorily. Well, refine the model then. There is no need to jump to the conclusion that we need a "transcendental" model to explain things.
But this is indeed a unique accomplishment. Four stars.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Place to Start for Serious Researchers,
This review is from: The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation (Kindle Edition)For all physicians, counselors, hospice workers and ministers who work with the dying or counsel those those facing serious health crises, this is the book to pull together a wealth of research into this extraordinary, life-changing experience. It's very well researched, organized logically under the most useful topics, and presented in a way that those unfamiliar with the field won't likely stumble over insider, technical language.
I've been seriously studying near-death experiences for some time, reading many books and scholarly articles.
I wish I'd read this book earlier in my research, since it would have saved me a lot of time. This handbook summarizes the research of 30 years of near-death studies as contained in books and the scholarly, peer-reviewed literature. After reading this book, should you wish to research further, you will know the main scholars in the field, the main books to read, the main articles to consult.
Although this book contains portions of many near-death experiences it isn't a book for those who want to casually read a number of full-length near-death experiences. Rather, it's for the person who wants to know how these experiences may vary from culture to culture, how they change those who experience them, if physiological and psychological theories are sufficient to explain them, which publications contain accounts with corroborative evidence (e.g., things observed while clinically dead from outside the body), whether or not people who have them are psychotic or prone to psychical experiences, etc.
Sources are carefully documented and the results are presented with the tentative (not dogmatic) attitude of true scholarship. Highly recommended, in fact mandatory reading, for all serious students of the near-death experience and those who work with those who may experience them.
5.0 out of 5 stars Summary of NDE Research up to 2009,
Instead, I give this five stars because it is an honest, scholarly review of most of the research on NDEs up until 2009. For people who were not aware that this was a serious field of scientific pursuit, this is probably your best bet to know what's been done so far.
Probably the best part of this book (while simultaneously being the most disappointing) is seeing how far this research needs to go to further elucidate the mechanisms of this phenomenon. As a scientist myself (evolutionary biology), I can sense both the excitement at the fact that there is much to learn and uncover (it's a greatly neglected field despite it's obvious practical and theoretical applications and public interest), while also being aware that this field is unfortunately not something that comes easily funded. There lies a dilemma: we need larger more rigorous (= more expensive) studies, but practically nobody wants to fund it. The awarding of a $5 million Templeton Prize to a professor at UC Riverside for the Immortality Project gives hope that these questions will further garner the interest of granting committees (even though most of the grant won't deal directly with NDE's).
Anyway, to get to the point of helping individuals considering buying this book...
Hardcore skeptics: you will not be convinced that NDE's are 'real' phenomena based on this book, but it should give you food for thought
Hardcore believers: if you're not aware of the scholarly aspects of NDE research, this will help give you some perspective on what we know. But if you want to read first hand accounts of NDEs, this is not the book to go to.
On-the-fence Individuals: this is a great resource for understanding what we know and don't know.
4.0 out of 5 stars A scholarly overview of NDE,
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The handbook of near-death experiences: Third years of investigation,
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A basic,
Still a great book.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation by Janice Miner Holden (Hardcover - June 22, 2009)