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Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives

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A first-person account of Jim B. Tucker's experiences with a number of extraordinary children with memories of past lives, New York Times bestseller Return to Life expands on the international work started by his University of Virginia colleague Ian Stevenson. Tucker's work, lauded by the likes of parapsychologist Carol Bowman and Deepak Chopra, and described by some as qu A first-person account of Jim B. Tucker's experiences with a number of extraordinary children with memories of past lives, New York Times bestseller Return to Life expands on the international work started by his University of Virginia colleague Ian Stevenson. Tucker's work, lauded by the likes of parapsychologist Carol Bowman and Deepak Chopra, and described by some as quantum physics, focuses mostly on American cases, presenting each family's story and describing his scientific investigation. His goal is to determine what happened - what the child has said, how the parents have reacted, whether the child's statements match the life of a particular deceased person, and whether the child could have learned such information through normal means. Tucker has found case studies that provide persuasive evidence that some children do, in fact, possess memories of previous lives. Among others, readers will meet a boy who describes a previous life on a small island. When Tucker takes him to that island, he finds that some details eerily match the boy's statements and some do not. Another boy points to a photograph from the 1930s and says he used to be one of the men in it. Once the laborious efforts to identify that man are successful, many of the child's numerous memories are found to match the details of his life. Soon after his second birthday, a third boy begins expressing memories of being a World War II pilot who is eventually identified. Thought-provoking and captivating, Return to Life urges its readers, skeptics and supporters alike, to think about life, death, and reincarnation and to reflect about their own consciousness and spirituality.


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A first-person account of Jim B. Tucker's experiences with a number of extraordinary children with memories of past lives, New York Times bestseller Return to Life expands on the international work started by his University of Virginia colleague Ian Stevenson. Tucker's work, lauded by the likes of parapsychologist Carol Bowman and Deepak Chopra, and described by some as qu A first-person account of Jim B. Tucker's experiences with a number of extraordinary children with memories of past lives, New York Times bestseller Return to Life expands on the international work started by his University of Virginia colleague Ian Stevenson. Tucker's work, lauded by the likes of parapsychologist Carol Bowman and Deepak Chopra, and described by some as quantum physics, focuses mostly on American cases, presenting each family's story and describing his scientific investigation. His goal is to determine what happened - what the child has said, how the parents have reacted, whether the child's statements match the life of a particular deceased person, and whether the child could have learned such information through normal means. Tucker has found case studies that provide persuasive evidence that some children do, in fact, possess memories of previous lives. Among others, readers will meet a boy who describes a previous life on a small island. When Tucker takes him to that island, he finds that some details eerily match the boy's statements and some do not. Another boy points to a photograph from the 1930s and says he used to be one of the men in it. Once the laborious efforts to identify that man are successful, many of the child's numerous memories are found to match the details of his life. Soon after his second birthday, a third boy begins expressing memories of being a World War II pilot who is eventually identified. Thought-provoking and captivating, Return to Life urges its readers, skeptics and supporters alike, to think about life, death, and reincarnation and to reflect about their own consciousness and spirituality.

30 review for Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I give this book 5 stars, not because it is particularly well written, but because its premise is simply mind blowing. Jim Tucker is a psychiatrist who is a professor of psychiatry and nuerobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia. He has conducted extensive research in the UVA Division of Perceptual Studies on children who report memories of prior lives. I heard an interview with Dr. Tucker on NPR, which prompted me to get the book. He started his research essentially as a non-believer I give this book 5 stars, not because it is particularly well written, but because its premise is simply mind blowing. Jim Tucker is a psychiatrist who is a professor of psychiatry and nuerobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia. He has conducted extensive research in the UVA Division of Perceptual Studies on children who report memories of prior lives. I heard an interview with Dr. Tucker on NPR, which prompted me to get the book. He started his research essentially as a non-believer in anything beyond scientific "materialism," as he terms it. His studies have convinced him that there a consciousness that exists entirely separately from the physical functions of the brain. He uses the findings of quantum physics to analyze the possibility of that. The chapter on quantum physics in beyond my ability to really understand what he is saying, the case reports are utterly fascinating.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is a book about reincarnation. Most folks might stop there, roll their eyes and move on. Jim B. Tucker, M.D. would like you to give his book a chance and read through to the end. And I must say that the end is certainly the best part of the book. I don't know if reincarnation is real or not. But that doesn't bother me or other people who understand that what is 'real' changes. I have known people who feel certain they have been reincarnated. I know people who say without a doubt it is a bun This is a book about reincarnation. Most folks might stop there, roll their eyes and move on. Jim B. Tucker, M.D. would like you to give his book a chance and read through to the end. And I must say that the end is certainly the best part of the book. I don't know if reincarnation is real or not. But that doesn't bother me or other people who understand that what is 'real' changes. I have known people who feel certain they have been reincarnated. I know people who say without a doubt it is a bunch of baloney. I myself have my own ideas about reincarnation in light of what little science I can translate into a cohesive view of my own experiences. My own theory has something to do with the potential of our genetic makeup to carry memories - sort of like the ability of elastic to spring back into its original form. But alas, this isn't my blog page. Onward. The examples of reincarnation - stories that have been investigated by open-minded scientists and medical professionals - are given in the beginning of this book. While fascinating food for thought, I was a bit disappointed. Only one particular story stands out from the rest because an actual person could be identified. The difficulty, however, of collecting data is explained and I think is a viable problem for scientists. Most 'proof' of reincarnation is heard through the mouths of young children from about ages 3 to 5, and after age 5 the memories grow dim. Many parents may think their child has a great imagination and may completely miss these experiences, especially if they adhere to a religion or science that condemns the possibility. Dr. Tucker takes us through the experiences of parents and children, explains how the use of variables is cross-referenced - especially between cultures and what you would expect to find there regarding death experiences. The last two chapters are where I jump on board and decided to give this book a 4 instead of a 3 star rating. Basically it is this: our current mainstream science community believes that consciousness is a mere byproduct of evolution. Only a small percentage of scientists are willing to risk their reputations to truly express their own wonder of this fantastic existence. The fly in the ointment is of course quantum mechanics or quantum theory which challenges the mechanistic view of the universe. Because what this theory does is to blow a hole in 'matter creating consciousness' as clearly there can be no universe without the observer. The last chapter of this book explores the author's views (and shared by so many of us out there) that whatever this universe(s) is, that it operates like a gigantic mind - that there is certainly a possibility that there is a stream of consciousness that emanates from this mind. I actually applaud Dr. Tucker for trying to go from the retelling of reincarnation experiences, to quantum theory, to his "we are all one" wrap up. I say "here here" because until we can reach out to others with an understanding of our connectedness, we will have war, we will have religious ideologies snuffing out our freedoms, we will have dictators snuffing out our freedoms and we will miss something so freaking fantastic besides our hard concrete world of matter. For some the jump from reincarnation to quantum theory, to a stream of mind consciousness may be too much. But for me, I toast Dr. Tucker, because we live behind a veil, and that veil is mind.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jülie ☼♄ 

    Return to Life by Jim Tucker I read this book in two separate sittings, temporarily shelving it for several months, as it was just not holding my attention as I expected it would, being a subject I have previously read much about and which fascinates me, I thought I would be gripped from the beginning as these stories are based on true accounts. I think, with a bit more thought given to how the finished book would read, the author could have made this book a lot more desirable to the inquisitive r Return to Life by Jim Tucker I read this book in two separate sittings, temporarily shelving it for several months, as it was just not holding my attention as I expected it would, being a subject I have previously read much about and which fascinates me, I thought I would be gripped from the beginning as these stories are based on true accounts. I think, with a bit more thought given to how the finished book would read, the author could have made this book a lot more desirable to the inquisitive reader. The individual stories are fascinating in their own right, but somehow they often get bogged down with too much detailed explanation from the scientific angle, which became quite boring at times, and I just wanted it to move along to the stories. A fascinating subject, though a bit disappointing in its delivery, I gave it 3*s for the stories.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    I really enjoyed the case studies but slogged through his "analysis" in the last chapter. Too bad. I really enjoyed the case studies but slogged through his "analysis" in the last chapter. Too bad.

  5. 4 out of 5

    jiyoon

    you know, until i got to the last third, i fully thought the writing in this book was mediocre—the contents were irrefutably stunning, but the writing was just fine. but dr. tucker really shines when writing about quantum theory; he breaks down complex ideas and concepts very well and offers a lot of evidence to break down a reader’s instinctive skepticism/rejection. the ideas in RETURN TO LIFE blew my mind. not so much the reincarnation/children with past lives aspect of it, since i had become you know, until i got to the last third, i fully thought the writing in this book was mediocre—the contents were irrefutably stunning, but the writing was just fine. but dr. tucker really shines when writing about quantum theory; he breaks down complex ideas and concepts very well and offers a lot of evidence to break down a reader’s instinctive skepticism/rejection. the ideas in RETURN TO LIFE blew my mind. not so much the reincarnation/children with past lives aspect of it, since i had become very open to that notion about a year ago after reading “The Science of Reincarnation” in UVA Magazine. i was more shook by the theory that matter is derivative from consciousness; that the mind is not an accidental byproduct of human evolution, but actively creates what we experience as being the “physical world.” here’s a crazy quote by sir james jean that this book references: “Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter; we are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” this is crazy stuff!!! there’s so much we don’t know and understand about how the universe functions and how we fit into it all, and i love learning as much about it as i possibly can. would recommend; it’s a very accessible and mind-opening read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    What a fascinating book! Coming into this, I would have considered myself a strong skeptic. However, after reading this, my mind is definitely more open to the different possibilities the author describes. I really enjoyed the analytical approach to the cases and found the last chapters around quantum mechanics to be especially interesting.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Donna LaValley

    Although the full title is “Return to Life, Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives,” only 75% of the book delivers. What the reader may want, having chosen the book for the title, ends on page 164. The remainder of the 240 pages holds Acknowledgments, Notes, and References, and also 2 chapters of Dr. Tucker’s attempts to tie quantum physics to the subject of reincarnation. It didn’t work for this reader. Having looked into quantum mechanics or particle physics for myself, I have Although the full title is “Return to Life, Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives,” only 75% of the book delivers. What the reader may want, having chosen the book for the title, ends on page 164. The remainder of the 240 pages holds Acknowledgments, Notes, and References, and also 2 chapters of Dr. Tucker’s attempts to tie quantum physics to the subject of reincarnation. It didn’t work for this reader. Having looked into quantum mechanics or particle physics for myself, I have a modicum of understanding, or at least a layman’s understanding, of the concepts. For me, he wasn’t able to convey any solid or memorable information or ideas. He consistently (and for me, unfortunately) kept referring to Dreams, “Working on a Dream,” the human as The Dreamer, etc. For me this is a false analogy and only confuses someone who wants to really know something. Fortunately there are other books about past lives and “between lives” that a person can read and contemplate. I bought this book because of a story on NBC Nightly News. It must have been an update to a story in this book where a boy (“Ryan”) calmly says he died at age 61 in the former life that had been chronicled. The birth certificate of that man said death happened at age 59. “Ryan” was not defensive and didn’t back down at being shown the document. He just said, “No, I was 61.” The researcher, having already been convinced by Ryan’s many other accurate statements, later checked and found Ryan was correct: the death certificate WAS wrong. This is astounding, in my opinion. I was hoping for more details in this book, but the book doesn’t cover that particular death-certificate incident. As I said, the News story may have been an update on Ryan’s story. Other books about these children are cited, and I’ve read some of them. Soul Survivor is a good one –James, the “soul survivor” has a chapter in this book also. These stories are compelling and important. There are just too many cases, many of them documented, for them to be “nothing.” One of my own children made comments about a former life, and also asked me once if I’d be his mother again “next time.” He was the typical age of little ones who begin talking about other lives – 3 or 4. Mothers discuss these statements in wonder with one another and then forget them, or let them go. The book briefly goes over some good cases but is very short and for me, disappointing.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Miles Fowler

    Jim B. Tucker, M.D. follows in the footsteps of the late, legendary Ian Stevenson who pioneered the investigation of past-life reports by children. The importance of relying on very early childhood reports instead of later ones is that when young children do report past lives, their past-life memories and feelings may fade and be forgotten as early as five years old and usually by seven. If, at age seven or eight, a child still maintains an identification with someone who lived in the past that Jim B. Tucker, M.D. follows in the footsteps of the late, legendary Ian Stevenson who pioneered the investigation of past-life reports by children. The importance of relying on very early childhood reports instead of later ones is that when young children do report past lives, their past-life memories and feelings may fade and be forgotten as early as five years old and usually by seven. If, at age seven or eight, a child still maintains an identification with someone who lived in the past that they earlier claimed to be, their belief is usually contaminated with feedback from others about their earlier statements. Also, two year olds who claim to have been U.S. Navy aviators in the Pacific Theater of World War II (as one child is reported to have done in 1CReturn to Life 1D) do not usually read books or research the Internet to come up with the story. Tucker, like Stevenson, is not the sort of person who never met a paranormal claim he didn 19t believe. (Stevenson once commented on a book by a medium who claimed to have channeled the great psychologist-philosopher William James: 1CIf the vapid writing 26 did indeed emanate from him, I can only say that this implies a terrible post-mortem reduction of personal capacities. 1D) When there isn 19t enough evidence to conclusively prove a connection between a child in the present and a claim about the past, Tucker plainly says so and more or less accepts defeat. (Technically, he says that these cases are unsolved, which is not at all the same as saying they are unproved, because none of these cases are considered proof; rather they are considered to be evidence.) He can be quite reasonable as when he relates the case of a Turkish man who admired John F. Kennedy and claimed that his son was the reincarnation of the assassinated U.S. president. As Tucker recognizes, the boy probably seconded the claim to please his father who consciously or unconsciously coached the boy on information about Kennedy 19s life which is common knowledge. There is no way to establish any truth in this claim. Of course, past-life stories told by children usually seem to relate to the lives of obscure people from the past, which is a two-edged sword since it means on the one hand that the children are less likely to be making it up, but it also makes it difficult and often impossible to discover a real person who matches the biographical hints given in the child 19s utterances. In one case, Tucker thought that a little girl might be remembering a life in Virginia City, Nevada, in the mid-nineteenth century, and the girl thought this was correct, but when they went to the town, the girl 19s reaction was muted, although she confessed at the airport when they were leaving that she longed to stay. Ultimately, while her past-life report did fit a description of life in the historic boomtown in many striking particulars, Tucker noted that the individual she claimed to have been could not be identified. Even without an identification, the issue of how very young children could put together accurate portraits of other times and places is intriguing, but those cases are not as impressive as those of three boys that Tucker studied after they claimed to have been identifiable people from the past. These three individuals were not easily identified. One had been a twenty-one year old U.S. naval aviator who died in combat on March 3, 1945. It took several people years to find this individual by putting together statements from the child with information that was sometimes difficult to uncover. In the end, though, the fit was like that of a glove. Another had been a failed Hollywood actor turned talent agent. The boy only had the name of one old movie he had been in without the name of the actor, which made it difficult rather than easy to identify him 14for a long time, no one could figure out which cast member he was or whether he was an unnamed extra. (It turned out that everyone had ignored the fact that he was credited in the cast but had no dialogue in the movie, so it was impossible to determine which character he is supposed to be; a likely possibility is that he had a line in the shooting script that was omitted from the final cut.) Still another boy also claimed to have had a career in Hollywood, but as a writer. He was also able to identify the middle name, which came up because of its similarity to his own middle name. (This is not explained in the book, but in a radio interview the author seems to have slipped and said that the boy 19s middle name was 1CCole. 1D) The middle name of the writer sounded like 1CCoe 1D from the boy 19s pronunciation of it. His parents asked him what movies he had written and ticked off a number of titles of famous movies. When they suggested 1CGone with the Wind, 1D the boy said that was one of his. His mother looked it up on the Internet and found that, although several writers worked on the script, the main credit was given to Sydney Coe Howard. Does that send shivers up your spine? It does mine, and that is the sort of thing that makes this a fun book to read. Of course, the most striking hit Tucker reports did involve a famous person. A two year old, whose parents knew nothing about golf and cared less, became addicted to the Golf Channel on cable television and soon began insisting that he remembered being Bobby Jones, the famous early twentieth century golf pro. This might be easily dismissed for similar reasons to the JFK identification although, in this case, the parents were less inclined to encourage the claim, but when shown a photograph of Jones standing next to another man, the boy said, 1CThat 19s my friend, Harry Garden. 1D It turns out that the man 19s name was Harry Vardon. (Another chill up my spine.) What is most striking about the 1CBobby Jones 1D case is that, while the boy stopped having memories of being Bobby Jones, he became a golf prodigy. At age seven, he entered junior golf tournaments and won 41 out of 50 games. True, he had been taught by a PGA golf pro, but the golf pro only agreed to teach the boy 14from age three-and-a-half 14because he was impressed by the boy 19s natural talent. Tucker analyses a database of over two thousand cases from around the world, and he draws from these some statistics that turn out to be spooky rather than dry. For example, while the majority of children who report past-life memories are boys, if you separate out the reports of non-violent deaths, those cases are fifty-fifty male and female. The violent death reports make up seventy percent of cases, and about seventy percent of those are male. Well, it turns out that crime statistics tend to show that about seventy percent of those who meet violent deaths are also male. In other words, the breakdown of violent deaths in Tucker 19s cases seems to reflect reality and also supports Tucker 19s speculation that a violent end could be a catalyst for a transmigrating soul to give its next incarnation nightmarish and therefore vivid and remarkable memories. For example, the little boy who claimed to have been a naval aviator began by complaining of nightmares about being in a plane crash. The boy who claimed to be the Hollywood writer complained of feeling crushed both in dreams and when his little body was constricted in any way 14even by a well-meaning hug from his mother. It later turned out that the writer had been crushed to death by a tractor in an accident on his working farm in Massachusetts. (I 19ve read elsewhere that accidents involving farm equipment have long been a leading cause of non-natural death.) From chapter eight onward, this book explores explanations of the past life reports. The author believes in a kind of Hegelian universe in which consciousness is prior to physical matter and helps to create it. While interesting, this part of the book is speculative and necessarily tentative, although it uses for support some interesting data from the Stevenson-Tucker database. For example, the reader might have noticed, from the case histories presented in the first seven chapters, that the children tend to report past lives within the same species, the same sex and the same nationality although there are exceptions to all of these trends. Exceptions include an Indian boy who claimed to have been a snake, and an Indian girl who claimed to have lived previously in Bangladesh. (Many Americans might not realize it, but these geographically adjacent regions are separated by many cultural and linguistic differences.) Tucker reveals that this tendency is, indeed, reflected in the database and that about ninety percent of cases involve reports of a past life in the same country and usually within the same ethnic group, although there can be interesting exceptions to that, too. (One European-American reported a past life as an African-American.) Another interesting factoid is that the median time between death and rebirth is about sixteen months, whereas the American stories reported in this book are about lives that are sometimes separated by forty or more years. Tucker suspects that there are psychological reasons why, assuming the reality of past lives, children 19s reports show different degrees of affinity between the two lives. For example, some children claim rebirth within the same family while, perhaps more usually, they are reborn in a different family from the past life one. Tucker suggests that this correlates with the circumstances of the death. Say, if your mother-in-law murdered you, the last thing you would want to do is be reborn into the same family. If you believe in ESP but not in past lives (and who doesn 19t fit that configuration of credulity!), you might object that these children might not be remembering past lives that they lived but are, rather, merely(!) picking up information psychically about another person from another time and place. This explanation might seem peculiar, especially to someone who doesn 19t believe in ESP or reincarnation, but as Tucker himself points out, the reader has, after all, read thus far into a book about reincarnation. The issue strikes Tucker as particularly relevant when the child does appear to be able to make uncanny predictions about the future apart from his information about past lives. This appears to be so in a few of these case studies. Tucker 19s speculation that there are what have been called by others 1COver-souls 1D might seem novel or difficult to grasp if the reader has not elsewhere encountered less tentative presentations of this idea. The idea is that if past lives are real, then the essence or 1Csoul 1D that is common to each life constitutes a more or less unitary entity that is greater than the individuals who appear in each life. That entity has its own consciousness that is both an accumulation of the different individuals and, at the same time, greater than the sum of the parts. I would also like to say that this book contains, for me, a memorable character who rivals my favorite fictional characters, such as Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse from Neal Stephenson 19s novel 1CCryptonomicon. 1D Waterhouse is as poignantly and richly memorable as almost any character in other novels of recent memory (even while some other novels might be more satisfying over all). In this book, the boy who seems to be channeling a mid-twentieth century Hollywood talent agent is as vivid as any character in a novel. The incongruity of a three-year-old behaving like a cigar-chomping, self-important wise guy who occasionally calls other people idiots and frequently manifests precognitive abilities is funny and touching as well as infuriating, no doubt, if you had to put up with him for any length of time, and it just might make a great novel by itself. When I was a teenager, I used to read lots of 1Cstrange mysteries 1D books, and only a few of them were ever as fun to read as are the first seven chapters of this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vasundhra Gupta

    A compelling and remarkable book for believers and non believers of Past Lives, alike. Why? Because it comes with EVIDENCE. TONS OF IT! As Jim Tucker and Dr Ian Stevenson investigate and PROVE the memories of children considered to be remembering past lives, this book will leave you extremely surprised with what else is uncovered. To name a few of the topics that come with this book : * Famous people reborn * Animals reborn as humans (WTF?) * Multiple Personality Disorders/Schizophrenia/Hallucinat A compelling and remarkable book for believers and non believers of Past Lives, alike. Why? Because it comes with EVIDENCE. TONS OF IT! As Jim Tucker and Dr Ian Stevenson investigate and PROVE the memories of children considered to be remembering past lives, this book will leave you extremely surprised with what else is uncovered. To name a few of the topics that come with this book : * Famous people reborn * Animals reborn as humans (WTF?) * Multiple Personality Disorders/Schizophrenia/Hallucinating versus * Psychic senses (with evidence) * Bodily possession by another soul (But not as scary as you'd think) * Out of Body Experiences * Theory of a Collective Consciousness * Near Death Experiences * Scientific evaluation (quantum physics versus classic, what famous scientists day, etc) .... And much more. I would highly recommend that you pick this underrated book up, if you're ready for something to blow your mind! With the facts presented in this book, there's little scope left to not believe.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Vladimir

    The cases are fascinating and even creepy on occasion. I could not put the book down. Not only is the content fascinating, the writing is quite compelling too. Dr. Tucker and his team seem to have researched them as thoroughly as possible, and it's really a pleasure to read something that approaches a rather exotic subject with scientific rigor. Having said that, the last two chapters slowly melt into the school of kumbaya interpretation of quantum mechanics and this is where he loses my interes The cases are fascinating and even creepy on occasion. I could not put the book down. Not only is the content fascinating, the writing is quite compelling too. Dr. Tucker and his team seem to have researched them as thoroughly as possible, and it's really a pleasure to read something that approaches a rather exotic subject with scientific rigor. Having said that, the last two chapters slowly melt into the school of kumbaya interpretation of quantum mechanics and this is where he loses my interest, and if it took more pages he would have lost my patience too.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Yoona

    3.5 stars

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Wow! This book has really given me something to think about. I feel like now I hold the knowledge of the universe. I understand the term "my purpose in life." Highly recommend! Wow! This book has really given me something to think about. I feel like now I hold the knowledge of the universe. I understand the term "my purpose in life." Highly recommend!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Caroline The HEA Lover

    Weird Yes and no....the second half of the book doesnt really float my boat but it's the author's point of view. Still interesting Weird Yes and no....the second half of the book doesnt really float my boat but it's the author's point of view. Still interesting

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    This was an audio book experience and well worth the listen. I wish there was more information included here on the results of this author's mentor- Ian who in his era gave up his advanced academic position to do research in this field. This quest for more exact diligent scientific level record is beyond difficult when the window of most of this kind of memory is in extremely early human life. In Western cultural climates such mutterings of babies is in great majority rejected or ignored. And wit This was an audio book experience and well worth the listen. I wish there was more information included here on the results of this author's mentor- Ian who in his era gave up his advanced academic position to do research in this field. This quest for more exact diligent scientific level record is beyond difficult when the window of most of this kind of memory is in extremely early human life. In Western cultural climates such mutterings of babies is in great majority rejected or ignored. And with the influences of media abounding, it is ever more impossible to filter with a dependent variable in source. Nevertheless, this is almost a 4 star. It would have been that level if so many Strange Mystery or other media based and supported reality tv shows were not in the mix. There are numerous proven examples of this kind of memory documented every year in the Far East and Indian sub-continent areas. Not only past life memory but also extreme affinity for a certain shape or object or activity viewed by a newborn and clearly understood for what it is or "was" or how it had been used, that has always interested me. And I have definitely viewed that in mere infants when I worked in trials. Became interested because one of my children, a son, was in love with wheels from birth. Or anything that could rotate in a circle- like the drum of a clothes dryer. This book's ending upon the dream state? It was interesting- but not at all any kind of proof. Several of these cases deserve the level of inquiry received- as the James who remembered being shot down in a plane so clearly. And the mannerisms or birth marks that are identical- or knowledge that could only have been known by the deceased? Clearly something is at play.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rishi Singh

    This was overall an entertaining and informative introduction into the topic but I was expecting more scientific rigor and it had a few holes and the author had some weird comments that showed he used basic stereotypical generalizations that were concerning to say the least. For example: "Her Husband, Kevin, a police officer, seemed out of central casting for an Oklahoma lawman with his stock build, his closely cropped hair, and Southwestern drawl. He definitely did not come across as someone you This was overall an entertaining and informative introduction into the topic but I was expecting more scientific rigor and it had a few holes and the author had some weird comments that showed he used basic stereotypical generalizations that were concerning to say the least. For example: "Her Husband, Kevin, a police officer, seemed out of central casting for an Oklahoma lawman with his stock build, his closely cropped hair, and Southwestern drawl. He definitely did not come across as someone you would expect to promote the idea of past lives" As in somebody who fits the typical southwestern culture is less likely to commit fraud? Or he doesn't fit the archetypal model of somebody who believes in spirituality because he is southwestern (I know reincarnation is explicitly mentioned instead of spirituality but this seemed like the undertone)? There were things like that that made me seriously question the validity of the bias he had when he took on these interviews. Another complaint is the lack of quantitative data. He focuses on the relationships people got right, but just briefly mentions that they got a few things wrong then tries to come up with explanations. I get it, the after-life is not within human bounds and logic, but if you're going to include all the cases he was right, I think it's important to include the parts that were wrong as well. If there exists a database of data he keeps, running numbers in a table format would not be difficult. Overall, I was a bit disappointed.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I have always had an interest in reincarnation. I have tried past life regression therapy in the past and even as a child I remember I'd look in the mirror and would often get this sick feeling to the pit of my stomach and would think 'this isn't me, who is this stranger looking back at me?'. I never understood why I felt like that at the time, it was only when I got older and became interested in the concept of reincarnation that made me question if that was why I felt like that as a child. It I have always had an interest in reincarnation. I have tried past life regression therapy in the past and even as a child I remember I'd look in the mirror and would often get this sick feeling to the pit of my stomach and would think 'this isn't me, who is this stranger looking back at me?'. I never understood why I felt like that at the time, it was only when I got older and became interested in the concept of reincarnation that made me question if that was why I felt like that as a child. It doesn't seem to matter how many case studies I read on the subject, reincarnation absolutely fascinates me. What I especially enjoyed about reading this book, which I believe ranks it higher than other reincarnation books I have read is that the author delves into the subject of quantum physics and covers potential scientific explanations as to how reincarnation may be possible. He also does it in a way that makes it easy to understand for the reader without being patronising. I highly recommend this book. Especially to those who are open minded and have a deep curiosity to understand why we exist.

  17. 4 out of 5

    dead letter office

    He gives the impression of trying a bit too hard to believe. He's constantly offering excuses when his subjects fail to substantiate their connection to previous lives. After one subject shows no sign of recognizing anything from his previous life as the guy who wrote Gone With the Wind during a visit to the old homestead: 'Perhaps if we had gotten there six months earlier, things would have been different.' On another, who thought he was Hollywood actor Marty Martyn: 'Were some of the details th He gives the impression of trying a bit too hard to believe. He's constantly offering excuses when his subjects fail to substantiate their connection to previous lives. After one subject shows no sign of recognizing anything from his previous life as the guy who wrote Gone With the Wind during a visit to the old homestead: 'Perhaps if we had gotten there six months earlier, things would have been different.' On another, who thought he was Hollywood actor Marty Martyn: 'Were some of the details that Ryan gave that didn't match Marty Martyn part of a flood of information about other people's lives that Ryan perceives because of his psychic abilities?' (Is psychic ability really the best explanation for a kid not knowing the details of Marty Martyn's past life?) The final chapter on quantum mechanics as the justification for all kinds of mysticism is especially half-baked.

  18. 4 out of 5

    David Roberts

    I think this may be one of those books that tries to convince the reader of reincarnation, but that one's predisposition to the idea is stronger than the book itself. Or maybe I don't want to live in a universe where little children have repeated nightmares of dying in a horrible plane crash because they have been "reincarnated" as a person who, in their previous life, you guessed it, died in a horrible plane crash. So, if you are predisposed to the idea of reincarnation, and are looking for stor I think this may be one of those books that tries to convince the reader of reincarnation, but that one's predisposition to the idea is stronger than the book itself. Or maybe I don't want to live in a universe where little children have repeated nightmares of dying in a horrible plane crash because they have been "reincarnated" as a person who, in their previous life, you guessed it, died in a horrible plane crash. So, if you are predisposed to the idea of reincarnation, and are looking for stories to afirm your beliefs, this is the book for you.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    This would have been better if it had more case studies and less quantum physics.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    Meh. Interesting stories and fascinating subject, but I just couldn't get over the poor writing. Just like a middle schooler wrote it, and not in a good way. I don't recommend. Meh. Interesting stories and fascinating subject, but I just couldn't get over the poor writing. Just like a middle schooler wrote it, and not in a good way. I don't recommend.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Diana Maculan

    After reading Soul Survivor and subsequently having attended a convention where past lives was a presentation topic, I was thrilled to come across this book. The cases presented (one being that of James Leninger from the Soul Survivor book) include both American and Asian children with memories from past lives. Tucker provides detailed information as to how the cases developed, at times being directly contacted by the child's parents while other times following up on and/or continuing research b After reading Soul Survivor and subsequently having attended a convention where past lives was a presentation topic, I was thrilled to come across this book. The cases presented (one being that of James Leninger from the Soul Survivor book) include both American and Asian children with memories from past lives. Tucker provides detailed information as to how the cases developed, at times being directly contacted by the child's parents while other times following up on and/or continuing research by Dr. Ian Stevenson, also of University of Virginia. I found the cases to be absolutely fascinating. The specifics given by various children were incredible. Tucker recounts their stories in detail, journaled entries provided by mothers, followup interviews and meetings he had with families, and in a few cases traveling with the child (and family) to locations he/she may have previously lived to see if the surroundings appeared familiar. Readers should not expect straight forward linear type memories of the past life by the child, rather they are bits and pieces of events, people, etc. that come through from that previous life. In that sense, the cases are like mysteries with Tucker, as well as the child's parent(s), attempting to grab onto as many clues as possible to come up with a definitive name for the past life person and chronological interpretation of his/her life events and possibly the why behind their being "reborn". In the last few chapters, Tucker presents his interpretations on how these memories are possible from a scientific perspective. Quantum mechanics, time/space, consciousness of the mind, NDE (near death experiences) and ultimately dreams of the individual and the collective are all explored. For the reader more interested in just the children's cases and not looking for a concrete explanation (albeit the author's personal interpretations) these chapters may not be as interesting, however I found them to include very interesting food for thought. I also appreciated his chart of the ages of the past life persons and distinction between those of natural and unnatural previous life deaths. One item never mentioned (that I recall) was any reference to what percentage of the cases were cross gender. Did all of the children in his case studies only have memories of past lives of someone of the same gender? Boys always male past lives and Girls always female? I quickly reviewed the cases specifically mentioned and they always were same gender. He mentioned some animal lives memories but not of a different gender. My curiosity is definitely piqued.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bob Rich

    As part of researching a section of my current work, Depression: A user’s guide, I lashed out and bought Jim Tucker’s second book, Return to Life. I read his first, Life Before Life, in 2005 when it was first published, and was impressed with its careful scientific rigour. Return to Life is more chatty, is in fact autobiographical, and is convincingly honest. When a case has doubtful features, Jim states them. It is far less “scientific” and contains more speculation, perhaps because western cult As part of researching a section of my current work, Depression: A user’s guide, I lashed out and bought Jim Tucker’s second book, Return to Life. I read his first, Life Before Life, in 2005 when it was first published, and was impressed with its careful scientific rigour. Return to Life is more chatty, is in fact autobiographical, and is convincingly honest. When a case has doubtful features, Jim states them. It is far less “scientific” and contains more speculation, perhaps because western culture has moved on and is more accepting of the possibility of reincarnation. Chapter 4 of the book, however, is immensely convincing: a little boy with many verified memories of having been a pilot, shot down in the battle of Iwo Jima. I won’t repeat the details, but it is simply impossible to account for the story in any way apart from reincarnation. Similarly, Chapter 5 is a great detective story, in which we read the progression of the case, all Jim’s caveats and doubts ¾ and the overall conclusion that little Ryan had to have been a person in Hollywood in the 1940s. Return to Life is a little like a detective game. Jim presents evidence, and lets you draw your own conclusions regarding the various cases. He then goes on to discussing deeper issues: how are reincarnation and similar observations compatible with science? There is a side trip into an excellent common-language explanation of quantum physics, which I also find fascinating, and the detour is well worth it even if physics is foreign country to you. Basically, modern physics demonstrates that the physical reality we feel around us is the creation of consciousness. This then makes sense of findings showing that there is an ongoing, nonmaterial part of a person that can move from life to life. The final conclusion is that all is One, and we apparent individuals are components of a Consciousness. I can thoroughly recommend reading either of these books.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Calla كالا

    Reincarnation is so very interesting and so very unknownable. I think those who believe will continue to believe and those who don't, won't. Unless something drastic happens to reshape opinions. I think the book was okay. Balanced in highlighting the given information hits and misses of the test subjects. The book didn't seem very scientific, almost all of the case studies were in the "it might be possible" arena but nothing so concrete that I was just blown away and I would have preferred cases Reincarnation is so very interesting and so very unknownable. I think those who believe will continue to believe and those who don't, won't. Unless something drastic happens to reshape opinions. I think the book was okay. Balanced in highlighting the given information hits and misses of the test subjects. The book didn't seem very scientific, almost all of the case studies were in the "it might be possible" arena but nothing so concrete that I was just blown away and I would have preferred cases that were not well known. I really liked the fact that the author included American case studies as well. When the author got around to the quantum physics section, it honestly threw the mood of the book off and I think could have done without it. I would have much preferred a book simply full of case studies. More interesting bits included the difference of the sexes reporting past lives. Indeed I had not even thought about the difference between males/females and past life reports. The section on life just being a dream etc was very "little Prince-ish" and felt a bit odd. Not only are we theorizing on reincarnation, but on reality and time which in theory mesh well but in the book was just off. I give it a three stars but am conflicted about my rating. It's an easy decent read but not memorable and a bit off at times.my biggest cons were the last two section are the bigger sections and dealing with quantum physics that seemed very much pseudoscience and his views on time and reality that didn't fit well within the book. Since this took up so much reading room it lowered the score.My likes were the actual case studies of which I wish there had been more.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christophe Finipolscie

    Having read the works of Ian Stevenson on the potential evidence for reincarnation, I was intrigued to see how his 'anointed successor' would continue his research. Sadly, I was very disappointed. While Tucker does seem to apply a considerable amount of investigative effort if cases worthy of investigation arise, the presentation of his findings to the general public seems to me to be strongly biased towards a belief in reincarnation, rather than taking a strictly neutral position - which was the Having read the works of Ian Stevenson on the potential evidence for reincarnation, I was intrigued to see how his 'anointed successor' would continue his research. Sadly, I was very disappointed. While Tucker does seem to apply a considerable amount of investigative effort if cases worthy of investigation arise, the presentation of his findings to the general public seems to me to be strongly biased towards a belief in reincarnation, rather than taking a strictly neutral position - which was the strength of Stevenson's work. Had this been the first set of published research on this topic, I would have found it to largely unpersuasive and even highly suspicious. Yet we do have Stevenson's work to fall back on, to give some measure of added credence to these new cases. While Tucker's book may be a lot more readable than Stevenson's work, it is less scientific in its handling of the evidence, and I did not have the sense that we were being given all of the necessary information that could allow us to judge the evidence. He does not present some of obvious challenges to the scenarios being painted, nor some of the raw comments that must surely have arisen during various rounds of interviews, which could be interpreted in different ways.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mia

    I checked this out for my 8th grade son who seems impervious to any questioning about spiritual life--no belief in deities, ghosts, superstition, fate, karma or otherwordly occurrences at all. I thought for sure he would eat this up, if for no other reason than to poke holes in Tucker's stories and conclusions. Nope. He didn't read it, but I did and quite enjoyed it. I'm skeptical of anything that I can't understand the mechanical processes of, and even more skeptical of any purported phenomenon I checked this out for my 8th grade son who seems impervious to any questioning about spiritual life--no belief in deities, ghosts, superstition, fate, karma or otherwordly occurrences at all. I thought for sure he would eat this up, if for no other reason than to poke holes in Tucker's stories and conclusions. Nope. He didn't read it, but I did and quite enjoyed it. I'm skeptical of anything that I can't understand the mechanical processes of, and even more skeptical of any purported phenomenon that is so rarely encountered, when life and death are such everyday occurrences. Still, children who provide details about people and places they could not have known in their current incarnation are fun to read and think about. Recommended for anyone who enjoys w00-woo theories of life after death, reading about near death experiences, etc.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Herrmann

    Good As Far As It Goes, But.... I've dated this book at three stars, not because it's lacking in readability, but because the author has inserted several pages explaining quantum physics as a way of explaining the differences between children 's descriptions of the time between lives. Quantum physics is a special interest of mine, but his explanation took over the end of a book I had sampled and paid for in expectation of an easy read of several children's memories of previous lives that have bee Good As Far As It Goes, But.... I've dated this book at three stars, not because it's lacking in readability, but because the author has inserted several pages explaining quantum physics as a way of explaining the differences between children 's descriptions of the time between lives. Quantum physics is a special interest of mine, but his explanation took over the end of a book I had sampled and paid for in expectation of an easy read of several children's memories of previous lives that have been confirmed through research. I think unless you're already informed at least about the basic ideas of quantum physics, his description is intrusive and difficult to read. Also, there are no more stories from his cases after the physics explanation. Very disappointing.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alex Bromley

    This book rattled me. I have always been a hard-core atheist with the simple belief that all that was for us in the afterlife was to rot in a box. This book is about Dr. Tucker's research on children who claim to have past life memories. Some of these stories are so convincing it was hard for even me to deny that there is at least a possibility that reincarnation could be possible, not to mention a short discussion of quantum mechanics at the end of the book that could explain how it could be po This book rattled me. I have always been a hard-core atheist with the simple belief that all that was for us in the afterlife was to rot in a box. This book is about Dr. Tucker's research on children who claim to have past life memories. Some of these stories are so convincing it was hard for even me to deny that there is at least a possibility that reincarnation could be possible, not to mention a short discussion of quantum mechanics at the end of the book that could explain how it could be possible. This book leaves me not knowing what I believe. However, in a year that has had so much loss, it is a nice thought that it could be possible. I recommend this book to the skeptics and the believers.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sri Sarnath

    This is a very interesting book on a controversial topic. Jim has done an excellent job of explaining "Time" as a huge factor in securing information related to the cases. Some of the chapters are mind blowing. His research style is impressive especially wherever he tries to discover if the news was reliable or not. I got lost in the 9th chapter when he ventures into Physics to make us understand a topic that is very difficult to fathom. I do give him credit for making that chapter interesting o This is a very interesting book on a controversial topic. Jim has done an excellent job of explaining "Time" as a huge factor in securing information related to the cases. Some of the chapters are mind blowing. His research style is impressive especially wherever he tries to discover if the news was reliable or not. I got lost in the 9th chapter when he ventures into Physics to make us understand a topic that is very difficult to fathom. I do give him credit for making that chapter interesting on its own. The chapter on dreams is also very interesting. Overall the book is a very interesting read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Thorlton

    I gotta admit, I was not ready for a quantum physics lesson. I wanted to read this as late-night entertainment along with my conspiracy theories and alien stories. The evidence, while at times coincidental at best, was often very convincing. This was a level-headed analysis of this phenomenon. Following that was a steep and deep dive straight into quantum mechanics. I’m sure I just dipped my toe in the kiddie pool, but it was enough to give my brain several new wrinkles. I had no idea what was g I gotta admit, I was not ready for a quantum physics lesson. I wanted to read this as late-night entertainment along with my conspiracy theories and alien stories. The evidence, while at times coincidental at best, was often very convincing. This was a level-headed analysis of this phenomenon. Following that was a steep and deep dive straight into quantum mechanics. I’m sure I just dipped my toe in the kiddie pool, but it was enough to give my brain several new wrinkles. I had no idea what was going on but simultaneously it made some sort of sense. I was appreciative of it and the thoughtful attempts to rationalize what may be unrationizable for the couch potato physicist.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kacey

    It started off well enough, though it was written a bit more academically than I expected with a lot of "And then I missed my flight and could not meet the child who seemed to remember their past life" (which I really didn't care about), but THEN the entire thing took a turn in the last two chapters. It turned into a primer on Quantum physics and I just didn't have the patience to figure out what exactly quantum theory has to do with past lives. The book probably would have explained it, but I wa It started off well enough, though it was written a bit more academically than I expected with a lot of "And then I missed my flight and could not meet the child who seemed to remember their past life" (which I really didn't care about), but THEN the entire thing took a turn in the last two chapters. It turned into a primer on Quantum physics and I just didn't have the patience to figure out what exactly quantum theory has to do with past lives. The book probably would have explained it, but I was not in the headspace to digest quantum mechanics.

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