BEYOND DYING: The Mystery of Eternity

Ted Harrison, Author . Lion $14.95 (222p) ISBN 978-0-7459-5047-1

Like any good journalist, Harrison, a British writer, has personally observed his subject, up to a point: he came close to dying of kidney failure in 1985. Yet as the veteran journalist notes, no one, himself included, has yet credibly reported from the other side of the event. This book ranges over contemporary culture, anthropology, Scripture, history, physiology and the paranormal, adding occasional leavening from famous comedy routines and one-liners, in examining human attitudes toward death. The multidisciplinary approach provides many perspectives on the subject; while breadth is supplied, depth in any one area is lacking. The book is most fascinating when it draws on anecdotal experience and common sentiment, material journalists excel at handling. Harrison draws from prior work on the death of Princess Diana (Diana: Icon and Sacrifice), by itself a case study on the popular understanding of death. America's counterpart deceased royal is Elvis the King; a pop-culture gap may account for Harrison's more nuanced exploration of the Diana phenomenon. The author acknowledges and draws upon such major writers as the inevitable Elisabeth Kübler-Ross as well as the clinical Sherwin Nuland (How We Die), but greater familiarity—and a bibliography—would have increased the value of the book. As an introductory take on an evergreen topic, the book is adequate, albeit a bit British for Americans in some of its references on the ostensibly universal subject of death. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 12/17/2001
Release date: 01/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
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