Surviving Death

“The concept of a ‘ghost’ conjures up a variety of thoughts and images in our minds, which may or may not be true to fact. Popular culture has impacted beliefs about what ghosts might be and how they affect the living and the physical world. For most people, a ghost is a spirit of someone who has died. For many, it is scary.”

-Leslie Kean

While the above quote may be true for ghosts, it is a also true about death. What happens after death and how a death affects those left behind are absolute areas of discussion, but the scariness of it is even more of a reality for most. Many fear death unconsciously and many make assumptions about death based upon social images and theatrical renditions. Fortunately, Leslie Kean took it upon herself to utilize her journalistic background to examine what we really know about death and what might come after life.

In Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife, Kean takes remarkable steps to examine death and the afterlife. Looking deeply into personal stories of individuals who believed that they lived before, stories of near-death experiences, ghosts,  and claims of communicating with the dead, Kean scrutinizes death while allowing for unique stories to be told. She steps out of the journalistic zone at times to give her own experiences, but they serve to enrich the text rather than detract from the central focus.

Kean does a wonderful job of looking at notions of death throughout history and making sure the individuals featured have their stories told rather than simply serving as cultural oddities. This book manages to take a grim topic and turn it into an enlightening and engaging story that is ideal for readers who appreciate in-depth books by the like of Mary Roach and Tom Vanderbilt.


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