What Happens When We Die by Sam Parnia [Clare, Massey Library]
This book is written by a critical-care doctor in a busy hospital emergency room in the United Kingdom. He was told some fascinating stories by a number of patients, about what happened when they were dying or thought to be already dead. He decided to start collecting some of their stories, and then to do some research and experimenting of his own.
He also collected numerous accounts from very well-respected colleagues, whose patients had told them of their near-death experiences. He takes us through the medical characteristics of death and how science understands the mind, the brain and consciousness.
Even though some of the prose is a bit scientific, it is nevertheless a very readable book for the layman who is interested in such things. The doctor outlines the historical antipathy between materialists, who believe that the mind is the brain and nothing else, and those who see consciousness as immaterial and part of the whole person.
This whole subject is an ongoing one for the scientific community and it seems that almost daily, books are appearing, written by neuroscientists, philosophers, or interested laymen. Of course, religious people feel they already know the answer and atheists and sceptics are determined to prove them wrong.