GOD AND THE EVOLVING UNIVERSE: The Next Step in Personal Evolution

James Redfield, Author, Michael Murphy, Author, Sylvia Timbers, Author . Putnam/Tarcher $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-58542-137-4

When is perennial wisdom more perennial than wise? Perhaps when it follows this commonplace opener: "Today we stand poised at a threshold in human history." Popular and prolific author Redfield (The Celestine Prophecy) is teamed here with Esalen Institute cofounder Murphy and documentary filmmaker Timbers. This trio of writers presents the history of human consciousness as an unfolding map of human potential, extrapolating from empirically documented peak human experiences a future norm of sensation and sensibility. An emphasis on empiricism and an 80-plus page annotated bibliography (almost one-quarter of the book) anchor the text; a chapter of exercises provides application. Perhaps the historic framework dwarfs the picture of what is new: it's difficult to discern progress in the argument for forthcoming human advancement in this latest work from writers who have already persuasively or profitably ploughed the ground. It's also difficult to find the God of the title, except as the Divine One who primed the evolutionary pump at its outset and inspired many of the visionaries the authors cite. The text is accessible but dry; Redfield's visionary fiction and Murphy's genre-bending books (e.g., Golf in the Kingdom) offer more fun. The book may be most valuable to those not familiar with the work of Redfield or Murphy; as a synergistic addition to their work, there's not much new. (Jan.)

Forecast: The Celestine Prophecy spent more than three years on the New York Times bestseller list, making it one of the hottest spiritual books of the late 20th century. A 13-city author tour should help Redfield (who has an outstanding history in promoting his books directly to readers) and his colleagues sell through their 75,000-copy initial print run.

Reviewed on: 01/14/2002
Release date: 01/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-58542-202-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-56511-642-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56511-641-2
Paperback - 318 pages - 978-0-553-81481-1
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