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What Happens When We Die?: A Groundbreaking Study into the Nature of Life and Death Hardcover – January 30, 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Hay House; 1ST edition (January 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401907105
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401907105
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #826,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Just what does happen when we die? That question has long begged an answer and has nagged at British near-death expert Parnia since his youth. It motivated him to become a physician and inspired him to begin conducting experiments that made the evening news even before he completed medical certification. One could say his entire life has been devoted to the pursuit of an answer to this question. The closest he has come to an answer lies in what he has learned from interviewing hundreds who have had near-death experiences and from exhaustive research on the character, origin, and extent of consciousness. The scope of his analysis has taken him through the realms of science, medicine, psychology, religion, and philosophy. If his research, findings, and conclusions to date don't offer conclusive answers to the age-old question, they do present enough up-to-the-minute data and theory to at least whet, if not satisfy, the appetite of more-than-mildly-curious readers. Donna Chavez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Sam Parnia, M.D., is a leading expert on near-death experiences. He now spends his time in hospitals and Cornell University in New York, where he’s a Fellow in pulmonary and critical-care medicine. He founded the Consciousness Research Group and is chairman of the Horizon Research Foundation. Dr. Parnia is constantly in demand as a speaker, and he’s made numerous media appearances. His groundbreaking research was recently featured in the BBC 2 and Discovery documentary, The Day I Died. This is Dr. Parnia’s first book.

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Customer Reviews

If you want to read a REALLY boring book, buy this one.
I'll Tell You What
Then the author talks about another study involving out-of-body experiences, but can't do it because he has no funding, and that's where the research ends.
All in all it was disappointing, and the authors writing style was amateurish and not very captivating.
Santa Cruz Rich

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

134 of 142 people found the following review helpful By Fernando Melendez on March 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book should be read by anyone who expects to die sometime. Others have no need for it. We do not know when, or how, but no sane person denies the inevitability of their eventual demise. We are (probably) the only species to posses this bit of information about our collective future. Knowledge of death comes in bits and pieces when we are children. It undergoes a period of stout denial in adolescence and young adulthood, when we are well aware that others might die, but not necessarily us. For millennia governments have sent people in such a state of denial to fight to the death against other youth, from other countries, who are equally or more deluded that their own youngsters. Ever so slowly the idea of our own death makes an occasional appearance into our consciousness as young people, and then such appearances accelerate in frequency as we age, to the point that old people think about death on a daily, or even hourly, basis; and yet we know little about the process itself, and even less about what happens afterwards, if anything. This book does not have all the answers, but it certainly poses these questions very nicely.

Sam Parnia belongs to a group of physicians who have studied the reports made by patients after having been technically dead, but who have recovered and told takes of wondrous events that took place during that apparent period of no oxygen, no heartbeat, and no life: many patients report floating above the frantic medics who are trying to resuscitate them, they tell about conversations that happened while they we unconscious, and speak about experiencing a great calm as they float through a tunnel towards a marvelous light; they mention being greeted by long dead relatives, and then about being informed that it is not yet their time, that they must go back.
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Neely on March 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
What Happens When We Die by SAM PARNIA, MD, is quite different from other books about near death experiences (NDE's.) Sam, as a young critical care doctor in Great Britain, decided to study cardiac arrest patients who survived, to learn if they had NDE's, or out of body experiences. He developed a strictly scientific study by which patients were asked simply if they remembered anything from the time they were in a coma. He compared results testing brain chemistry, brain waves, medications, and many other scientific conditions to see if there were any similarities which might induce the brain to create the experience. Convinced that there was no explainable cause for NDE's from these studies he delved more deeply than others writing about NDE's. This book not only cites various NDE's of patients who consistently found the light, benevolent beings, and a peaceful happy experience and returned to a life more benevolent, but the book also details his very thorough scientific studies from other approaches heretofore never considered. He has approached the question what happens when we die from the physiological aspects, the brain chemistry aspects, the patients' personal beliefs about death or religion, as well as considering it from scientific knowledge, quantum physics, psychology, and neuroscience. The book gets very technical in some chapters but gives easy to understand examples in non-medical terms. I found most fascinating that he considers the NDE's from the philosophical aspects of what do we consider real? And what is human consciousness? And where is the mind or consciousness located?Read more ›
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Riley on April 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who has ever thought about the ultimate question of what happens when we die... Especially those who want answers based upon the objectivity of science.

Ever since he was a medical student, Parnia MD, PhD was fascinated by what it is that makes us all unique as individuals, in other words what is the relation between the mind and the brain? Later he was touched by the experience of seeing his patients' die and was left with the question of what happens to the human mind and consciousness at the end of life? Disappointed that science had not seriously tried to study this question, he developed a scientific model i.e. cardiac arrest and started research into this field. This was almost 10 years ago...

This book starts with a review of the subject based upon the literature. Although, this is generally where all other books on the subject stop, he however, goes further by describing how novel research was set up and taking us along with answers obtained from the first ever published scientific study to test the different theories of causation of near death experiences. Parnia's study which was published in the medical journal 'Resuscitaton' has been followed by three other independent studies carried out in the US and Holland and published in top journals such as 'The Lancet'. All these researchers including Parnia have concluded (rather significantly) that the occurrence of "lucid well structured thought processes together with reasoning and memory formation when the brain ceases functioning and the clinical criteria of death are met, suggest that the human mind and

consciousness may continue to function at the end of life...!
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