Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence For An Afterlife — a book review

Is consciousness biological, or is there something more to us? Do our minds survive our physical death, only to be reborn? Leslie Kean, an investigative journalist and best-selling author, dives into the pool of evidence in this book. She leads us into a000 Book Review multilayered cruise of the data, the signs, and the scientific facts, piloting us through topics such as past-life memories, real death experiences, after-death communications, out-of-body and near-death experiences, and the psychic aptitudes of physical mediums.

Kean reports that although the cases she has cited throughout the book “suggest that consciousness can operate even when the body is dead, without a functioning brain…we must not forget that there is no scientific evidence that our thoughts and feelings, self, psyche, or soul are generated by the brain.”

Curiouser and curiouser. What now? What are we to make of this growing body of testimony from people all over the world that defies scientific explanation? The author writes that she herself has “come to the inevitable conclusion that most likely the brain has a facilitating or receiving and not a producing function in the experience of consciousness. So under special circumstances our enhanced consciousness would not be localized in our brain nor be limited to the brain.”

Even MORE curiouser and curiouser. Still, while we may one day better understand the brain and its function, proof of survival into an afterlife will perhaps remain an unsolvable mystery. For now, however, we have stories from children of their past lives with recalled events and circumstances that have been verified, we have reports and investigations that have not been able to dismiss certain physical mediums and the phenomena that accompany them (ectoplasm, mysterious rapping sounds, spirits taking control of a medium’s mind and body, full body materializations), and we have narratives of end-of-life experiences (deathbed visions, visitors seen only by the dying, witnesses who have observed a transcendent light at the moment of death).

Kean does a stellar job of investigative reporting on this delicate subject. She is thorough, though on the tedious side. And while she pulls together the bits and pieces of human experience, cognitive neuroscience, and spirituality, the age-old question remains unanswered. Do we survive physical death? Many of us believe we do. All I know is that I want to see what Steve Jobs saw just before he died, whatever it was that made him cry out, “Oh wow. Oh Wow. OH WOW!”

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

More about the book and author:


Read an Excerpt From The Grapes of Dementia and Check Out The Other Great Books Available Through the AlzAuthors eBook Sale


The AlzAuthors ebook sale is still happening, but only until Wednesday. No title is over $2.99, and some are available in paperback and audio.

My book, The Grapes of Dementia, is available for 99 cents (U.S.). Here’s an excerpt, written about a time when I was frustrated and angry with the world, during the height of Alan’s dementia:


I sit on the floor in my study, piles of paperwork scattered about, surrounding me. The wind howls. It’s late autumn, the sun has already set, and a winter storm revs up. They say there could be two feet of snow on the ground by the time the blizzard is over.

Meanwhile, I have a week’s worth of mail to open, papers to file, files to make, papers I need to follow up with phone calls, and papers that must be shredded. There are papers having to do with Alan’s stay at the Rose, papers from insurance companies, statements from financial institutions, bills, astrology charts, ticket stubs, schedules, and business cards. Papers, papers, papers.

Overwhelmed, I want nothing to do with any of it. I don’t want to open the mail, make the files or phone calls, don’t want to shred any of it or file any of it away. I can’t face it. I can’t bear the thought of doing any of it. I can barely look at it. Not now. Maybe not ever. I’ve had it. I’m done.

I put on some music, turn off the lights, and look out the window, watching the snow coming down sideways. I get back on the floor, spread out the papers, shuffling them about as if they were a giant deck of cards. I lie on top of the mess, all those dreadful papers, reminders of my new life with an Alan absent from much of it, and stretch, stretch, stretch my arms and legs in any direction they’ll go. And then I move my arms and legs to the music. I move as if I were making snow angels with all those white papers. I’m making snow angels. The papers go everywhere. What a mess I’m making! It’ll take hours to sort through these again, but the typically organized and orderly me doesn’t care.

I sit up and look around at the glorious mess I’ve made. Papers. I listen closer to the music: Dust in the Wind. Yes. All we are is dust in the wind, everything is dust in the wind.

Now I’m angry with Alan for getting dementia, for leaving me to handle everything alone, for not being here. And then I cry.

Inexplicably, in less than 10 seconds, it’s over. I’m cried out.

I get up, peruse the scene, take the music into my heart, laugh at the mess, close the door, and walk away, content to leave it all for another day.

Alz Authors eBook Sale Facebook Post

The clock is ticking on the AlzAuthors ebook sale

pexels-photo-277458Only a few more days left on the AlzAuthors ebook sale!

Dozens of books — nonfiction, memoir, fiction — about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, as well as brain health.

Book prices range from free up to $2.99.

Visit the AlzAuthors site to view and purchase!


The Grapes of Dementia
(the book I wrote about my grieving process while caring for my husband) is only 99 cents!


My Story of Love, Loss, Surrender, and Gratitude

I lost my husband Alan to dementia in July 2011. Ours was a passionate, urgent midlife romance cut short by early-onset dementia. The day after we met, he asked me to marry him; I wondered what took him so long to ask. The wedding was a few months later.


My book is on sale for 99 cents until June 28, 2016, through Amazon and the AlzAuthors ebook sale. Check out the others on sale as well. Book prices range from FREE up to $2.99.

A short nine months after the ceremony, Alan was diagnosed with dementia. I was 53, he was 61. I was his caregiver from the beginning through to the finish. Before the end of our sixth year, he was gone.

During our time together, there was a typical, progressive decline in Alan’s cognitive functions, affecting his thought processes, reasoning, memory, attention, language, and problem-solving capabilities, as well as his balance and motor skills.

As his dementia accelerated, I often spent entire days and evenings helping him do what he couldn’t until eventually I did it all for him. I was his memory, his cook, waitress, driver, laundress, administrative assistant, psychologist, manicurist, IT specialist, physical therapist, nurse, social director, and pack mule. I was his everything; he was my all.

Later, Alan needed a team of people to care of him, and he was moved to a nursing home. While it upset us both, it gave me strength to live lighter, to be better able to support him, to let our love guide us through the thorny period of losing each other.

I wrote The Grapes of Dementia to tell part of our story and to reach out and support, lift, and encourage others going through similar caregiving and life crises.

To this day I am wildly grateful for having had Alan in my life, even if for a short time. But it still breaks my heart there was no cure or relief for him, that he had to go through the confusion, agony, and torture of this disease with no hope but death, that I lost the love of my lifetimes to an illness with no cure.

Please consider supporting the ebook sale put on by AlzAuthors in honor of Alzheimer’s and brain awareness month.