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960 of 1,012 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most of all true, February 9, 2012
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This review is from: To Heaven and Back: The True Story of a Doctor's Extraordinary Walk with God (Paperback)
At the same time that Dr. Mary Neal was drowning in a river in Chile, her husband, Bill, appeared to me in a dream. Bill is an old friend of mine from high school. We had shared many adventures and confidences over the years, but neither he nor any other friend had ever stared at me in a dream and woke me up. I shook it off at the time, only to learn a few days or weeks later why I had seen him.

The story of her experiences from the drowning, through the repeated revivals and her ultimate survival are the events upon which this book is anchored. But the meat and meaning of it are in the unfolding of her life as guided and protected by her God. I'm obviously no disinterested party. Skeptics can be reassured by my report that if it came from Mary's pen, it will be the truth and the whole truth. I doubt, however, that her or anyone's personal account can penetrate fully into the modern psyche. That is, into those who think that they need proof of what we call God. As an account of a brush with the Hereafter, here have been many others similar to it, and they're well enough known to be used as shorthand in bad films.

What Mary and those like her have experienced are gifts from somewhere, given not just to them. She gives it back to us disguised as a simple offering. She doesn't baffle the reader with melodrama, hyperbole, fantasy, or excessive adjectives. She tells her story in a concise & detailed way, with a voice of eloquent and unadorned sincerity. In this way, it's easy to read and difficult to put down, vividly descriptive and completely convincing, humbling and inspiring.

Fortunately for us, she kept waking up in the middle of the night until she couldn't keep from writing it down for us. The reason to read this remarkable account is witness, which is one of the few ways that we have left to hack a little hole in our jungle of unbelief.
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Tracked by 18 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 78 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 7, 2012 5:48:24 AM PDT
Thanks for your thoughtful input to this book.

Posted on May 7, 2012 10:20:21 AM PDT
D. Hacker says:
What a beautiful review. Just saw Dr. Neal on Fox and Friends. What an inspiration she will be in our "jungle of unbelief." This description is perfect. We know there is order in the Universe. There is certainly order to our lives. The Bible teaches us order by the fulfillment of Old Testament Scripture within the New Testament. A jungle has no order. An atheist has no hope.

Posted on May 7, 2012 9:25:21 PM PDT
Kcp9000 says:
Just saw her interview on I plan to read this book. I've been fascinated with this subject for all of my life, and have read many books and personal testimonies of NDEs. They are all very similar, and you just can't ignore thousands upon thousands of nearly identical reports, from all over the world, from all walks of life. My question is, if you know, does Dr. Neal stipulate that only Christians will experience this? I ask because, although very spiritual, I am not a member of any organized religion. I look forward to your response, and to reading this book.

In reply to an earlier post on May 8, 2012 7:54:29 AM PDT
Not at all. Although she is devout, and there are Biblical references in the book because of that, she's only speaking about what she herself experienced. It's for anyone.

Posted on May 10, 2012 11:10:04 AM PDT
My five year old son passed away on January 20th 2012 from neuroblastoma cancer. Needless to say I have been mired in a deep dark depression. I just sat on the edge of my bed and prayed for God and my son Cole to forgive me for my sins and my failure to appreciate every moment of his precious life before he was diagnosed. I have not prayed much since he passed because none of my prayers were answered throughout his battle with cancer. For some reason just after I prayed I turned on the television, Mary was being interviewed about her book, I cannot wait to read it. I could see in her face that her experience and belief in Heaven were real. I will find some peace in this book in knowing my beautiful little boy is in a better place now.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 12:51:36 PM PDT
Kcp9000 says:
There's no such thing as coincidence! I lost a brother. We'll see each other again one day. From their point of view, I think it just seems like a few minutes before they see you. From our point of view, of course, it's the rest of our life. A lot of waiting. But I take comfort in all these thousands of accounts--that we will see our loved ones again.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 1:01:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 10, 2012 1:03:12 PM PDT
Tony, your story touched me; I am so sorry for the loss of your son. My brother also died on January 20th, in 1989.

I saw the interview on Fox News also and was inclined to check out the book. I'm putting my little Buddy (Cocker Spaniel) down next week and this gives me hope. I know he is only a dog, but who knows? Maybe dogs will go to Heaven too. Rest assured, I hope my brother is there to greet him.

Blessings to you Tony

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 1:22:34 PM PDT
Ashland says:
Patience, I am sure that our pets go to heaven. When my little chihuahua was in my arms dying I kept calling out to my deceased significant other to please take her and care for her. I was crying and holding her as she passed. It was 7:30 p.m. and I walked out on to my front porch and I saw a black and blue butterfly, the same kind of butterfly I had seen at his death. The butterfly let me hold it on my finger. I know he was telling me he had Penny with him and not to worry. I didn't even grieve the loss of her after the butterfly incident. Ask you brother to take Buddy. He will.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 4:34:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 10, 2012 4:39:25 PM PDT
Ashland, Your post brought tears to my eyes. Yes, I will pray that my brother will take Buddy. Thank you for sharing your story and wow, God is an awesome God. I love that the butterfly let you hold it.

Posted on May 10, 2012 4:49:46 PM PDT
I have not read the book as yet, but I fully expect that everyone who has experienced life as we have created it will exit the life of form just as Dr. Neal did, regardless of their religious or philosophical beliefs or lack thereof. That is the message I receive from my creator who claims to have created all in the same image.
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