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

Jim B. Tucker
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 3 2013
Dr. Tucker, in a follow-up to his book Life Before Life, explores American cases of young children who report memories of previous lives


A first-person account of Jim Tucker's experiences with a number of extraordinary children with memories of past lives, Return to Life focuses mostly on American cases, presenting each family’s story and describing his 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 cases 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 to think about life and death, and reflect about  their own consciousness and spirituality.


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"In Return to Life, Jim Tucker painstakingly and meticulously documents the recycling  of memories from beyond the barrier of physical death. He then rigorously offers a scientific theory to explain how our consciousness transcends space/time and is, hence, eternal. This book is an important milestone of an emerging scientific paradigm that suggests that consciousness conceives governs constructs and becomes the universe or perhaps multiple universes."—Deepak Chopra

"A breezy page-turner...Tucker presents these cases...with professioanlism and palpable respect."—Spirituality and Health

"Jim Tucker is a worthy successor to Dr. Ian Stevenson. He approaches these fascinating cases of children who appear to remember previous lives with an intelligent curiosity, sober judgment, and a real knack for telling a story, which is a good thing, because these are great stories."—Tom Shroder, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and author of Old Souls: Compelling Evidence from Children Who Remember Past Lives

"These incredible cases are not simply solid grounds for accepting some form of reincarnation into our Western worldview. These are heart-rending, poignant reminders that many of us do not quite ‘fit’ into the cultural and religious worlds into which we are born.  Obviously, we are more than these worlds. Way, way more."—Jeffrey J. Kripal, author of Authors of the Impossible: The Sacred and the Paranormal

"Researchers at the University of Virginia Medical School's Department of Perceptual Studies are studying reports from children around the world who claim to remember their past lives. More than 2,500 such reports have been analyzed by the Project's founder Ian Sevenson and several colleagues, among them Jim Tucker.Their work has immense implications for our understanding of the world and human nature, but has received relatively little attention from mainstream scientists and religious groups.  Return to Life, like Dr. Tucker's previous book, Life Before Life, opens a door on this historic research. Even if you disagree with Tucker's brief speculations about the afterlife, you will get a good look at the kind of evidence for reincarnation that the University of Virginia team is assembling. It is astonishing to me that their work is not better known."—Michael Murphy, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Esalen Institute, and co-author of God and the Evolving Universe

"With Return to Life, Dr. Jim B. Tucker has driven a very large nail in the coffin of materialism.  This is an important contribution to the growing body of evidence that consciousness survives the death of the brain and body.  The fear of death and annihilation has caused more suffering in human history than all the physical diseases combined.  This book is a powerful antidote to that dread."—Larry Dossey, MD, author of One Mind:  How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Great Consciousness and Why It Matters

"Return to Life comes as a resounding wake-up call regarding human existence. For decades, materialists have insisted that consciousness is nothing more than a function or emergent property of the brain. But the fact is that scientifically, the origins and nature of consciousness and its role in nature remain a mystery. The greatest obstacle to illuminating these issues through scientific discovery is not ignorance, but the illusion that we already have the answers. The empirical evidence that Dr. Tucker presents in this book challenges the reductionistic, metaphysical beliefs of scientific materialism. If his research methods are flawed, the scientific community should bring this to his and the public's attention. If they are irreproachable, then the empirical facts he reveals compel us to reassess even our most fundamental assumptions about consciousness, human nature, and the universe at large."—B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D., President of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies and author of Dreaming Yourself Awake

About the Author

JIM B. TUCKER, M.D. is Bonner-Lowry Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia. He is continuing the work of Ian Stevenson at the UVA Division of Perceptual Studies with children who report memories of previous lives. His first book on the research, Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives, has been translated into ten languages. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his family.


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5.0 out of 5 stars Yes!.... to Reincarnation and its Wholeness March 31 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Jim Tucker's got a great investigative mind about the things that count in our lives, which are overlooked and not given enough credit for. If a person can't allow the concept of reincarnation into our minds, we're creating a personal life jigsaw puzzle with half of the pieces missing. Choose; an open mind...or closed mind. Jim lets in more light for the reader with this book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Academic But Interesting Feb. 28 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found the stories rather repetitive and the complexities of the physics at the end confusing. Using science to "prove" meta-scientific anecdotes seems somewhat illogical to me. However, there is no question that the concept is very interesting.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  67 reviews
54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Skeptics: Don't be so sure of yourselves... Dec 3 2013
By D. Graves - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First, I'd like to take skeptics head-on: you may scoff at the subject matter but you probably have no real knowledge of it. You - we - are part of a primitive civilization and know next to nothing of the nature of existence. For hundreds of thousands of years man looked at birds in flight and dreamed of flying. There are people alive TODAY who were born before man could even figure THAT out, the relatively simple dynamics of flight. So, don't be so dismissive of what you don't understand and assume you 'know' what's possible and impossible. As Plato advised, 'a wise man knows he knows nothing.'

The fact is, this avenue of research is not antithetical to scientific research. Indeed, it cohesively follows the lines of the latest research in quantum mechanics. The double-slit experiment, as important as it seemed years ago, now seems, in the wake of recent discoveries, monumental in its import: the human mind can, in fact, control the physical world, can, in fact, transcend the "laws" of physics. This is now an established scientific fact. The work of the author and his renowned mentor, the late Dr. Ian Stevenson, strongly suggests that the mind (or 'soul') not only transcends minor laws of physics (wave-particle duality) but a major, awe-inspiring one as well: our souls able to return to mortal life in a new physical being.

The author, Dr. Tucker, not only conducts his research with an eye towards quantum physics but strictly follows scientific method as well. While the case histories of the children themselves may seem subjective, with much of it anecdotal evidence from the parents, Tucker is actually highly objective in his findings, relying on otherwise-inexplicable corroborating evidence from other, unrelated sources (often family and friends of deceased persons). The cases presented in the book are compelling and include the most famous American case, that of James Leininger, made famous by the book 'Soul Survivor' and subsequent filmed documentaries.

This is a subject that now deserves to be taken seriously. It is, of course, easy to scoff at the notion that our being, or soul, survives death of our physical body and that we are able to return to life in another body, but if you really look into the work of Tucker and - even more so - Ian Stevenson, you will see that there is no other explanation. This book, especially, explains the scientific bases for this finding as well as offering many compelling and dramatic case histories to illustrate the dearth of any alternate explanation of why these children have intimate knowledge of the lives of deceased people. An important book, in my opinion.

Don't let my emphasis on the science mislead you: the vast majority of the book deals with the truly extraordinary cases of these children, not science. My review is, I suppose, more of a defense of the legitimacy of the subject matter, as such a book will certainly be attacked by pseudo-intellectuals hell-bent on 'disproving' it. However, it's actually a thrilling and engrossing read and one you will not soon forget.
30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With Heart And Grace, A Journey into Past Lives Dec 3 2013
By Mike D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a reader of Ian Stevensons's books and Dr. Jim B. Tucker's previous work 'Life Before Life', I can honestly say this book is the most accessible and honest of all their works. Generally, the previous reincarnation books were very analytical and light on the personal touch. While this book continues the tradition of providing the essential details that are the heart of the argument for reincarnation, it does so with a grace and human element that makes the children and their parents come to life as if they are sitting at your kitchen table. l have to compliment Jim B. Tucker on show casing his writing talents. Job well done.

My favorite part of this book is the emphasis on children who remember past lives and are from America. One of the greatest critiques from skeptics is that reincarnation is a cultural phenomenon from religions with the belief in reincarnation. Well, If they did their own research before this book came out they'd realize it wasn't, but now that 'Return To Life' is available and highlights strictly American cases of reincarnation, it's very easy to point the skeptic in the right direction to overcome their objection. (Getting them to actually read it, however, is another thing entirely) As the American cases continue to prove, reincarnation is a phenomenon that crosses cultural, religious, racial, gender, and geography lines. These are Christian parents, raising their children Christian, discovering that their child is identifying with someone who has passed away. When a die hard Christian realizes their child is having a past life experience, it's refreshing to see them keep their mind open and realize that our holy books are holy and sacred, but incomplete.

Additionally, this book reinforces the truth, whether we in the West are prepared to believe it or not, that some sort of an afterlife exists and that reincarnation is an option. As the culture war heats up between atheists and the religious/spiritual, this book is crucial ammunition to put the delusional atheist arguments to rest. I use reincarnation as a major argument against new atheism in my own bookThe Case Against Atheism because we need to wake up to this evidence and take the next steps, to find a mechanism, to learn about how we can help children with these memories, and to discover if there is a purpose for this recycling of souls. We are more than this material body. The Hindus and Buddhists were right, to an extent. Now let's move on. As philosopher and reincarnation defender Robert Almeder has said "If you have a very commanding argument that you cannot refute, not to accept the argument is to act irrationally" The atheists/skeptics regurgitate the same impossible and ignorant arguments such as the child is having a fantasy, they're being coached, or my favorite, that aliens are the cause. Carl Sagan and, believe it or not, New Atheism founder Sam Harris have all stated their belief that reincarnation is possible. If only more scientists would read this book and the other research, there is no telling what we may learn about the purpose of this life and conditions of the next.

The second incredibly powerful argument in this book is the biological one. Skeptics consistently dismiss these cases as merely anecdotal. When I point out they are much more, including biological with matching birthmarks, they resort to childish mocking. This speaks volumes about their inability to address the reality of the evidence and their need to protect their identity and beliefs. As this book continues to demonstrate, it is more than memories, knowledge, emotions etc., which are impressive on their own, but also biological correspondence to the previous life's body, which the statisticians in the book conclude are highly improbable.

Whether you're a new atheist a religious follower or a spiritual seeker, I think you will thoroughly enjoy this book. Be prepared to keep your mind open and to have your beliefs changed, but it's for a good reason with a happy ending. There is life after life, returning is possible, and what better news can there be than that?
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! Dec 9 2013
By Judi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have come to the same conclusions about "reality" as Dr Tucker has, and am so relieved that he has skillfully put together the evidence from so many different disciplines to come to some awesome conclusions. I no longer feel so isolated. From quantum physics to many documented cases of reincarnation, we are drawn to what seems to me (and Dr Tucker) the idea that we must come to a post materialistic era. Coming full circle from superstition through Newtonian physics to a more profound appreciation of consciousness sans boundaries, Dr Tucker has written a philosophical book for the ages. The chapter Mind over Matter alone is worth buying the book. The anecdotal stories of children remembering past lives are very entertaining and persuasive. Well done Dr Tucker!
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound Dec 25 2013
By Mark - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read this after seeing the article in the University of Virginia Magazine. I had not previoulsy read anything by this author or his mentor Ian Stevenson (spelling?) Still - I found the data-driven approach to remembering past lives very refreshing (one out of around 450 people report a past life memory).

Chapter 8 and 9 on the link of memories to quantum physics (ch. 8) and the analogy of past lives to dreams (ch. 9) were simply awesome - and brought together a lot of well researched themes from many other works. Still, the simplicity of the writing and the application to this work make the discussion, perhaps, easier to follow than an entire book on quantum physics.

Return to Life does not give many answers - nor can it or should it. Appropriately, the book informs the reader so he/she can take one step closer to their own interpretation of some very profound themes. And that, in my opinion, is one trait of an excellent book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW Feb. 13 2014
By john r. gerdy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you found A New Earth to be meaningful, read this. An absolutely marvelous read. . .ESPECIALLY the last 2 chapters in which Tucker links his learnings from reincarnation studies. . .with facts from near death experiences, quantum physics, and the work of Carl Jung to develop a mind-blowing articulation of the nature of consciousness.
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