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Reports of near-death experiences have fascinated people for centuries, but have been written off
by skeptics as hallucinations, religious visions, or the result of mental illness.
Now, with AFTER: A Doctor Explores What Near-Death Experiences Reveal about Life
and Beyond (St. Martin’s Essentials/Macmillan; March 2, 2021), by Bruce Greyson, M.D., the
world’s leading medical expert on near-death experiences, we finally have answers from
scientific evidence about the mysteries of death, life, and the continuity of consciousness.
Reports of remarkable experiences on the threshold of death can vary. Some near-death
experiencers report seeing rare colors, while others hear strange sounds, or else have
conversations with dead loved ones or out-of-body experiences. Whatever they go through, the
10% of people who have these experiences when their hearts stop are forever changed, with
profound transformations in their attitudes, beliefs, values, and behavior. Struck by these
unexplained but often consistent cases among his patients, Dr. Greyson began to investigate.
His curiosity, tempered by a strong skepticism, inspired a lifelong journey for answers that
resulted in AFTER, a landmark book on the most profound lessons about life and death based on
almost 50 years of scientific research of near-death experiences. The questions the book answers
are fundamental to understanding consciousness, our purpose for living, and what it means to be
human, and include:
What do near-death experiences tell us about the mind-body connection?
How can we tell that near-death experiences are real?
How can people’s consciousness continue when their brain activity has stopped?
Perhaps even more important are the questions Greyson raises about life before death. He found
that near-death experiences often give people a new outlook on what makes life purposeful and
meaningful. AFTER is just as much a book about the lives lived after near-death experiences as
it is about the after-life and provides transformative lessons that all of us can apply without
having to “walk into the light” ourselves.
Greyson has studied over 1,000 experiencers and includes in this book several of the most
dramatic first-person accounts. Part medical detective story and part journey of personal growth,
AFTER chronicles one doctor’s skeptical inquiry over decades of clinical experience and
scientific research as he reluctantly comes to grips with the facts about near-death experiences,
their effects on his patients—and, ultimately, on how they came to shape his own life’s purpose,
and can reshape ours.
About the Author
Dr. Bruce Greyson is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral
Sciences at the UVA School of Medicine. He served on the medical school
faculty at the Universities of Michigan, Connecticut, and Virginia. He was a
co-founder and President of the International Association for Near-Death
Studies, and Editor of the Journal of Near-Death Studies.
His award-winning research led him to become a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American
Psychiatric Association, and to be invited by the Dalai Lama to participate in
a dialogue between Western scientists and Buddhist monks in India.