Page 20

Birmingham Bar Association Spring 2014

Book Reviews Robert R. Kracke A POTPOURRI OF BOOK REVIEWS Proof of Heaven: Neurosurgeon’s Journey Into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander, M.D. Simon & Schuster, 2012 About 25 years ago the Bulletin published a review of several books about near-death experiences (NDE). One (“Life After Life”) was written by a doctor, cardiologist, Raymond Moody, who related stories that patients had told him about their own near death experiences. Another, a more balanced version, was Kenneth Ring’s “Life At Death; a Scientifi c Investigation of the Near Death Experience.” Your reviewer was hesitant, then, to review these books because it was questionable as to what kind of reception such a review would generate from lawyers. Th e response, however, was overwhelming. As a result of that review, your reviewer made four or fi ve speeches to civic clubs and religious groups throughout Jefferson County. It just goes to show that there are some common themes in life: taxes and death. Inasmuch as more than a generation has passed since those reviews were presented, it was believed that two of the more recent books would be of interest to the readers of this publication. After this reviewer reviewed the fi rst set of books, much of the material written by the scientifi c community in opposition to near death experiences revolved around explanations for near death experiences in the form of brain function and psychological phenomena (one can Google Heaven Is For Real A Little Boy’s Astonishing Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent, Th omas Nelson, Nashville, 2011 Near-Death Studies on Wikipedia for a summary.) Many of those in the scientifi c community felt as if there is/was a psychological explanation for NDEs described as rising above one’s body in the form of a spirit, seeing a bright light, going through a tunnel, and emerging to a place where a life review is sometimes related and other times heavenly greetings from deceased ancestors or persons who were related by blood to the person experiencing death. Th erefore, one of these books, by Dr. Eben Alexander, the neurosurgeon, explains some of the scientifi c knowledge he possesses concerning how the brain operates from a physician’s point of view undergoing a NDE. Th e other book, related by a young child about 4 or 5 years old is published by a religious publisher and the person relating his story is his father, a Lutheran minister. It should be noted that the neurosurgeon was a self-avowed atheist prior to his experience and that his background reveals that he no longer practices neurosurgery, for various controversial reasons which are unnecessary to enumerate here. Both of these individuals, the young boy and the neurosurgeon, underwent medical crises where they were “in a coma” for a period of time. Th e young boy relates the presence of God and Jesus in his experience and the neurosurgeon tells about being led by someone he did not know, that person being a female relative of his who had previously died young. Both of these books were best sellers on Th e New York Times best seller list and the author in the neurosurgeon’s case was interviewed on the Oprah Winfrey 20 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Spring 2014
To see the actual publication please follow the link above