Monday, February 22, 2010

"Beyond: On Life after Death"

New from University Press of Kansas: Beyond: On Life after Death by Fred M. Frohock.

About the book, from the publisher:
Is death the final event in human life, or does another existence follow? What are the signs and possible proofs of such continuity? Such questions have sparked speculation in philosophy, religion, art, and science throughout human history and remain a familiar concern for even the most casual observer of the human condition. In his provocative new book, Fred Frohock explores the possibility that our existence is neither defined by nor limited to the purely physical—nor is it terminated at death.

Fearlessly pursuing such a sensitive subject, Frohock suggests that death’s domain may not be quite the “undiscovered country” lamented by Hamlet. He wades boldly into the debates between hardcore materialists and devout spiritualists; provides glimpses of recent findings in brain research, the so-called mind-body problem, and consciousness studies; and in general offers an idiosyncratic introduction to some of the most provocative and least understood aspects of what we call “conscious” life. In the process, he provides fresh insights into the narratives, claims, and conundrums associated with life after death, near-death and out-of-body experiences, reincarnation, and a host of psychic phenomena that continue to puzzle the experts.

Demonstrating a keen grasp of subjects ranging from neurochemistry to popular culture, Frohock is a sure-footed tour guide through a richly diverse field of research. He considers what past life regression therapy suggests about reincarnation, assessing the credibility of pioneering research by Brian Weiss and Ian Stevenson. He introduces readers to the work of the University of Virginia’s Near Death Experience Project, with reports stretching back 35 years, and the Human Consciousness Project’s study of 1,500 survivors of cardiac arrest. And he contemplates whether people in permanent vegetative states, like Terri Schiavo and Sunny von B├╝low, are alive or not—and what these transitional states tell us about death.

Leavened with humor and a Renaissance-style intellect that draws in Tolstoy and Hemingway along with films like Solaris and Blade Runner, Frohock’s deep meditations are deftly interposed with brief fictional interludes that humanize his book’s more abstract dimensions while exploring claims about the supernatural. Approaching the world’s most baffling subjects with a critical eye, an open mind, and an agnostic’s heart, Beyond looks beyond the last threshold and points the way toward a better understanding of human existence.