The following list of titles makes no pretense at being comprehensive, but is simply a starting point for books about the near-death experience (NDE). This particular list includes most of the original titles in the field, because it is their descriptive reports upon which most subsequent work has built. Quite a few of the early titles are out of print, but most are available from used book sources; for an out-of-print title, check your library, Amazon, or other booksellers for a used copy. Please keep in mind, especially when reading the autobiographical works, that no single viewpoint represents the entire field of near-death studies.

Descriptive Studies (basic introduction to near-death experiences)  

  Greyson, Bruce (2022). After: A Doctor Explores What Near-Death Experiences Reveal About Life and Beyond. St. Martin's Essentials. Memoir of four decades of NDE research by the premier NDE researcher. Available in print, Kindle, and audiobook.


Fenwick, Peter & Elizabeth Fenwick (1995). The Truth in the Light. New York: Berkley Books.  Report by a well-respected neuropsychiatrist and his wife, based on a careful study of over 300 NDEs in the United Kingdom. See his article, “Science and Spirituality”, on this website.


Grey, Margot (1985). Return from Death: An Exploration of the Near-Death Experience. London, England: Arkana. A fine, comprehensive study, the first in Britain.


Hagan, John C. III (Ed.) (2017). The Science of Near-Death Experiences. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press. Evidence-based research on NDEs by physicians and scientists, including those who themselves have had an NDE. The recollections of NDErs often refute physicians' scientific explanation of how an oxygen-starved brain can produce such vivid recollections.

Life After Life

Moody, Raymond (1975). Life After Life. New York: Bantam. The book that began it all. Easy reading, basic. An excellent phenomenological treatment of NDEs. While some findings have since been clarified and expanded by further research, this book remains the basic work in the field of near-death studies.

Glimpses of Eternity

Moody, Raymond & Paul Perry (2010). Glimpses of Eternity: Sharing a Loved One's Passage from This Life to the Next. Guideposts. On the related phenomenon of Shared Death Experiences in which persons present at the death of a loved one experience leaving their own body, viewing the life review of their loved one and traveling part-way toward the Light.

Evidence of the Afterlife

Long, Jeffrey & Paul Perry (2010). Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences. Long presents nine lines of evidence that we survive bodily death, based on an analysis of 1,300 NDE accounts from his NDERF web site.

Near-Death Experiences as Evidence for the Existence of God and Heaven Miller, J. Steve (2012). Near-Death Experiences as Evidence for the Existence of God and Heaven: A Brief Introduction in Plain Language. Miller presents the latest evidence from NDEs in this well-researched introduction in plain English.


Ring, Kenneth (1982). Life at Death: A Scientific Investigation of the Near-Death Experience. The first quantifiable attempt to describe the NDE itself. Most other researchers have corroborated the basic findings reported in this book.


Ring, Kenneth (1985). Heading toward Omega: In search of the meaning of the near-death experience. New York: Quill. The early work documenting changes after a NDE.


Ring, Kenneth (1999). Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind. Palo Alto, CA: William James Center for Consciousness Studies. Evidence that the blind can see during NDEs and OBEs and that during NDEs sight has a different quality and is a kind of "transcendental awareness" referred to as "mindsight".


Rivas, Titus, Anny Dirven & Rudolf Smit (2023). The Self Does Not Die: Verified paranormal phenomena from near-death experiences (2nd ed.). Durham, NC: IANDS Publications. A compilation of 104 accounts of paranormal phenomena during NDEs that were later verified as accurate by independent sources. The authors include an extensive discussion of the implications of these cases for the question of survival of physical death, as well as the arguments skeptics have raised. The authors have gone back to the original sources—the people involved in each case, whenever possible—rather than relying on secondhand sources. This is a unique collection of empirical data that any scholar worthy of the name must take into account.

Recollections of Death

Sabom, Michael B. (1984). Recollections of Death: A Medical Investigation. A clearly written and fascinating discussion of the first physician-conducted study of near-death experiences, with special attention to verifiable out-of-body experiences. Highly recommended. 

Transformed by the Light

Sutherland, Cherie (1992). Transformed by the Light: Life after Near-Death Experiences. Sydney, Australia: Bantam. Includes near-death experiences in children.
Reborn in the Light

Sutherland, Cherie (1995). Reborn in the Light. Bantam. Examining the effects of the near-death phenomenon and what survivors have come to believe about life, a collection of case stories offers their messages of hope, peace, joy, and life after life.

Consciousness Beyond Life

van Lommel, P. (2010). Consciousness Beyond Life: The science of the near-death experience. Scientific evidence that the near-death phenomenon is an authentic experience demonstrating that consciousness can be experienced separate from the body.

  van Lommel, P., van Wees, R., Meyers, V., & Elfferich, I. (Article, 2001). Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: A prospective study in the Netherlands (PDF download). Lancet, 358(9298), 2039-2045.


The Near-Death Experience: A reader

Bailey, Lee W., & J. Yates (Eds.) (1996). The Near-Death Experience: A Reader. New York: Routledge. Comprehensive overview of NDEs, with accounts and interpretations from writers representing a variety of fields. Excellent for classroom use or a solid grounding.

The Near-Death Experience: Problems, Prospects, Perspectives

Greyson, Bruce and Charles Flynn (Eds.) (1984). The Near-Death Experience: Problems, Prospects, Perspectives. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas. The earliest and still one of the best overviews of the field.

The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation

Holden, Janice Miner, Bruce Greyson, and Debbie James (Eds.) (2009). The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation. A summary of what has been discovered about NDEs in the first three decades of research; presentations from the historic 2006 IANDS conference at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Comprehensive, scholarly.

General Interest  

The Big Book of Near Death Experiences: The Ultimate Guide to What Happens When We Die

Atwater, PMH (2007). The Big Book of Near Death Experiences: The Ultimate Guide to What Happens When We Die. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publisher. A popular and prolific author presents a thoroughgoing introduction to the subject of NDEs, along with some of the more controversial and unsubstantiated opinions about causes and effects. (An earlier edition of this book was titled Complete Idiot's Guide to Near-Death Experiences.)
Coming Back To Life: Examining the After-Effects of the Near-Death Experience Atwater, PMH (2001). Coming Back to Life: Examining the After-effects of the Near-Death Experience (rev. ed.).Sacramento, CA: Citadel Press. A mingling of observation, analysis, and metaphysical speculation. Experiencers say, “She tells it like it is” about aftereffects and experiencer reactions.

The Journey Home: What Near-Death Experiences and Mysticism Teach Us About the Meaning of Life and Living

Berman, Phillip L. (1998). The Journey Home: What Near-Death Experiences and Mysticism Teach Us About the Meaning of Life and Living. New York: Pocket Books. A thoughtful, non-sensationalist presentation of NDEs, readable and well reviewed by book-buyers at Amazon.

Science and the Near-Death Experience

Carter, Chris (2010). Science and the Near-Death Experience: How Consciousness Survives Death. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions. Philosophical argument based on evidence from NDEs, physics and consciousness research that consciousness survives death.

When Ego Dies: A Compilation of Near-Death and Mystical Conversion

Corcoran, Diane, ed. (2004) When Ego Dies: A Compilation of Near-Death and Mystical Conversion Experiences. Houston, TX: Emerald Ink. A collection of relatively brief pieces by members of the IANDS local support group of the Houston, TX, area.

Overcoming Death

Corcoran, Diane (2014). The Near-Death Experience: An Interview in Overcoming Death: Evidence of the Afterlife (excerpts from The MOON Magazine). Diane Corcoran covers numerous topics including an explanation of NDEs, NDE aftereffects, childhood NDEs and NDEs in combat veterans.

The Case for Heaven

Cox-Chapman, Mally. (1995). The Case for Heaven: Near-Death Experiences as Evidence of the Afterlife. NDEs as evidence of an afterlife.

Revelations of Profound Love

Ellis, Ann Frances (2012). Revelations of Profound Love: New Insights into the Power of Love from Near-Death Experiences. Ann Ellis recounts insights from nearly 500 near-death experiencers illustrating the different aspects of love commonly found in NDEs.

The Art of Dying

Fenwick, Peter & Elizabeth Fenwick (2008). The Art of Dying: A Journey to Elsewhere. New York: Continuum. Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick describe their ground-breaking research into the end of life phenomena, including near-death experiences, shared-death experiences, deathbed visions of the dying person and other phenomena surrounding death, as well as the experiences of hospice and palliative care workers and relatives of dying people.

Religion, Spirituality and the Near-Death Experience

Fox, Mark. (2002). Religion, Spirituality and the Near-Death Experience. London: Routledge. Well done overview of a complex topic.

Adventures in Immortality: A Look Beyond the Threshold of Death

Gallup, George., Jr., with W. Proctor (1982). Adventures in Immortality: A look beyond the threshold of death. New York:  McGraw Hill. Overview of NDEs in the context of a Gallup study of American beliefs about death and life after death. Frequently referenced in other works.

Farther Shores: Exploring How Near-Death, Kundalini and Mystical Experiences Can Transform Ordinary Lives

Kason, Yvonne. (2008, rev.ed.). Farther Shores: How Near-Death and Other Extraordinary Experiences Can Change Ordinary Lives. Toronto: iPublishing. Comprehensive description of the varieties of potentially spiritually transformative experiences, their aftereffects, and suggestions for coping by a physician who has had more than one transformative NDE. Contains hard-to-find information on the sometimes alarming symptoms of kundalini energy.

Experiences Near Death: Beyond Medicine and Religion

Kellehear, Allan (1996). Experiences Near Death: Beyond Medicine and Religion. New York: Oxford University Press. A cross-cultural and sociological approach to NDEs, their cultural and psychological response and why they occur. Ken Ring called it “an absolute must read for any serious student of the NDE.”

Closer to the Light

Morse, Melvin & Paul Perry (1990). Closer to the Light: Learning from the Near-Death Experiences of Children. New York: Ballantine. A pediatrician’s description of children’s NDEs.
Transformed by the Light

Morse, Melvin & Paul Perry (2001). Transformed by the Light: The Powerful Effect of Near-death Experiences on People's Lives. Piatkus Books. Those who return from the brink of death are profoundly changed for the better, both spiritually and physically, for the rest of their lives.

Lessons from the Light

Ring, Kenneth & Evelyn Elsaesser-Valarino (1998). Lessons from the Light: What We Can Learn from the Near-Death Experience. Portsmouth, NH: Moment Point Press. What non-NDErs can learn from the NDE.

Light and Death

Sabom, Michael (1998).  Light and Death: One Doctor's Fascinating Account of Near-Death Experiences. Includes a detailed description of Pam Reynolds' NDE during hypothermic "standstill" brain surgery. Has an evangelical Christian perspective.

Distressing Experiences

Dancing Past the Dark by Nancy Evans Bush

Bush, Nancy Evans (2012). Dancing Past the Dark: Distressing near-death experiences. This book is the first comprehensive exploration of disturbing NDEs and how people interpret them. The book is packed with solid information and first-person narratives that, although marked by dismaying and even terrifying features, turn out to have something vital to say about life itself.

The Buddha in Hell

Bush, Nancy Evans (2016). The Buddha in Hell and Other Alarms: Distressing near-death experiences in perspective. Most interpretations of hellish NDEs assume the experiences exist as punishment. What if evidence shows that's not entirely true? This book seeks to understand distressing NDEs in the context of NDEs in general, to understand the concept of hell, and to find alternative ways to approach distrssing NDEs through religious ideas and psychological insights.

The Uttermost Deep

Ellwood, Gracia Fay (2001). The Uttermost Deep: The Challenge of Painful Near-Death Experiences. New York: Lantern Books.Deeply thoughtful analysis of NDE phenomenonThough actually a book that addresses in general the implications of NDEs, with a good chapter (#4) on, and subsequent discussion of, "painful" NDEs.

Blessing in Disguise

Rommer, Barbara. (2000). Blessing in Disguise: Another side of the near-death experience. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn. Overview of what the author calls “less-than-positive” NDEs, written by a physician.

Gay and Lesbian  

Crossing Over and Coming Home

Dale, Liz (2001). Crossing Over & Coming Home: Twenty-One Authors Discuss the Gay Near-Death Experience as Spiritual Transformation.  Houston, Texas: Emerald Ink, 2001. GLBT (gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered) NDErs describe their experiences and aftereffects.

Hospice and Nearing Death Awareness  

Final Gifts

Callanan, Maggie, & Patricia Kelley (1992). Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communication of the Dying. New York: Bantam. Two hospice nurses describe the experiences of dying patients.

Final Journeys

Callanan, Maggie (2008) Final Journeys: A Practical Guide for Bringing Care and Comfort at the End of Life. New York: Bantam.

Love is the Link

Kircher, Pamela (1995). Love is the Link: A hospice doctor shares her experience of near-death and dying. Burdett, NY: Larson. Unique perspective from an author who is, herself, a childhood NDEr.

On Death and Dying

Kübler-Ross, Elisabeth (1997 reprint ed.). On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy and Their Families. The classic book that raised American consciousness about the experiences and needs of the dying.

Brain-function Perspective  

Brain Wars by Mario Beauregard Beauregard, Mario (2012).Brain Wars: The scientific battle over the existence of the mind and the proof that will change the way we live our lives. New York: HarperOne. This book presents near-death experiences as one of several lines of evidence that "strongly challenge the mainstream neuroscientific view that mind and consciousness result solely from brain activity".

The Spiritual Brain

Beauregard, Mario and Denise O’Leary (2007). The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul. New York: HarperOne. 

Dying to Live

Blackmore, Susan (1993). Dying to Live: Near-Death Experiences. London: Grafton/HarperCollins. Explains NDEs as a product of brain function. Provocative.

Fingerprints of God

Barbara Bradley Hagerty (2009). Fingerprints of God: The Search for the Science of Spirituality. New York: Riverhead (Penguin).

Spiritual Emergency  

Spiritual Emergency

Grof, Stanislav. (1989). Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis. New York: Tarcher.


Lessons from the Light

Rogers, Sandi. (1995). Lessons from the Light: In-Sights from a Journey to the Other Side.  New York: Warner. An autobiographical account from a woman whose NDE occurred when she attempted suicide.

Related Topics, Worth Reading  

Varieties of Anomalous Experience

Cardeña, E., S. J. Lynn & Stanley Krippner (2000). Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. The APA’s first formal acknowledgment of non-ordinary experiences. Excellent chapter on NDEs by a foremost NDE researcher, psychiatrist Bruce Greyson.

Hello from Heaven

Guggenheim, Bill, & Judy Guggenheim (1995).  Hello from Heaven. New York: Bantam. Summarizes reports of the incidence and types of after-death communication.

Irreducible Mind

Kelly, Edward et al. (includes Bruce Greyson). Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.Comprehensive and detailed empirical proof that the reductive, materialistic belief that mind equals brain is not just incomplete but false. A major scholarly work.

Varieties of Religious Experience

James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature. The great classic study of religious and spiritual experiences, by the great classic scholar and pioneer in psychology.

Journey of Souls

Newton, Michael. (1994). Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives. Using a special hypnosis technique to reach the hidden memories of subjects, Dr. Newton discovered some amazing insights into what happens to us between lives.

Destiny of Souls

Newton, Michael. (2000). Destiny of Souls: New Case Studies of Life Between Lives Dr. Newton presents 70 additional case histories of people who were regressed into their lives between lives. He also provides more details about various aspects of life on the other side.

What Happens When We Die?

Parnia, Sam. (2007). What Happens When We Die?: A Groundbreaking Study into the Nature of Life and Death. London: Hay House. Up-to-the-minute data and theory about what is known about the mind, brain, and consciousness as demonstrated by NDEs. Excellent information, especially for the scientifically minded reader.

Erasing Death

Parnia, Sam. (2013). Erasing Death: The Science That Is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death. Dr. Parnia reveals that death is not a moment in time. Death, rather, is a process—a process that can be interrupted well after it has begun. Innovative techniques have proven to be effective in revitalizing both the body and mind, but they are only employed in approximately half of the hospitals throughout the United States and Europe. Dr. Parnia discusses some of the preliminary results of the AWARE study of NDEs in cardiac arrest.

Your Soul's Plan

Schwartz, Robert. (2009). Your Soul's Plan: Discovering the Real Meaning of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born. Schwartz explores the premise that we are all eternal souls who plan our lives, including our greatest challenges, before we are born for the purpose of spiritual growth.

Your Soul's Gift

Schwartz, Robert. (2012). Your Soul's Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born. Schwartz develops the idea of pre-birth planning further by exploring the pre-birth planning of spiritual awakening, miscarriage and abortion, caregiving, abusive relationships, sexuality, incest, adoption, poverty, suicide, rape, and mental illness.

Heaven and Hell

Swedenborg, Emmanuel. (2009, reissue). Heaven and Hell. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation, Inc. A description of the spiritual world as experienced by the famous 18th-century Swedish mystic.

Autobiography/Biography (a sampling of the many titles available)  

Rag Doll

Alayna. (1997). Rag Doll: A Journey of Healing and Integration. Suffolk, England: MM Publications. Written by a woman whose NDE as an adult helped her resolve the lifelong traumatic aftereffects of childhood sexual abuse.

Proof of Heaven

Alexander, Eben. (2012). Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife. Dr. Alexander recounts that while his body lay in coma, he journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super-physical existence. There he spoke with the Divine source of the universe itself. Dr. Alexander's account is notable because it transformed his former skeptical, materialist viewpoint into one of insight about the spiritual nature of existence.

37 Seconds

Arnold, Stephanie. (2017). 37 Seconds: Dying revealed heaven's help. Like Proof of Heaven and To Heaven and Back, a gripping medical drama with heavenly implications in which a woman receives premonitions of her death that come true, and her discovery of the heavenly help available to all of us.

Saved by the Light

Brinkley, Dannion, & Paul Perry (1994/2008). Saved by the Light: The True Story of a Man Who Died Twice and the Profound Revelations He Received. New York: HarperOne. Double NDE with two extensive life reviews. Includes Brinkley's relationship with Raymond Moody.
 Heaven is For Real, by Todd Burpo Burpo, Todd, & Lynn Vincent (2010). Heaven is For Real: A little boy's astounding story of his trip to heaven and back. Best-selling story of 4-year-old Colton Burpo who, during an emergency appendectomy, slipped from consciousness and enters heaven. Colton's story includes very interesting verifications of his deceased great-grandfather (who died 30 years prior to Colton's birth) and his mother's prior miscarriage, with impossible-to-know details about each. Strong Christian content and interpretation.

My Last Breath

Dovel, Matthew (2003). My Last Breath. Baltimore, MD: PublishAmerica. Distressing NDE resulting from a suicide attempt.

Embraced by the Light

Eadie, Betty (1992). Embraced by the Light. New York: Bantam. One of the most widely read accounts.

What Tom Sawyer Learned from Dying

Farr, Sidney (1993). What Tom Sawyer Learned from Dying. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads. An informative account about one of the participants in Ken Ring’s classic research.
Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani Moorjani, Anita (2012). Dying to Be Me: My Journey from cancer, to near death, to true healing. New York: Hay House. Moorjani "died" of stage 4 lymphoma in 2006. During her near-death experience, she received a number of insights about the source of her cancer and was told by her deceased father that she needed to come back. She knew that she would be completely healed if she came back—and she was. Moorjani describes her experience of the nature of reality and consciousness during the NDE and recounts several veridical (real and verified) perceptions she had.
To Heaven and Back Neal, Mary (2012). To Heaven and Back: A Doctor's Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again. Dr. Mary Neal drowned in a kayak accident. She recounts what happened as she moved from life to death to eternal life, and back again. Her experience in heaven forever changed her life through a newfound understanding of her purpose on earth, her awareness of God, her closer relationship with Jesus, and her personal spiritual journey.

Return from Tomorrow

Ritchie, George, & Elizabeth Sherrill (1978). Return from Tomorrow. Waco, TX: Chosen Books. A classic. The account that inspired Raymond Moody to inquire into the phenomenon that he eventually named the “near-death experience.”

After the Light

Sharp, Kimberly Clark (1995). After the Light: What I Discovered on the Other Side of Life That Can Change Your World. New York: William Morrow. The personal story of a social worker who also has been active in IANDS.

My Descent into Death

Storm, Howard (2000). My Descent into Death: A Second Chance at Life. New York: Doubleday. An autobiographical account by a pre-NDE art professor, and post-NDE minister, with a distressing segment turning into a pleasant NDE.

Passage to Eternity

Suleman, Azmina. (2005)  A Passage to Eternity: A mystical account of a Near-Death Experience and poetic journey into the Afterlife. Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Amethyst Publishing. Rare account of a Moslem woman's NDE, including her interpretation based on her upbringing in the mystical Shia branch of Islam.


Transformed by the Light: The Powerful Effect of Near-death Experiences on People's Lives