by: Kevin D. Randle
Publisher: Pinnacle Books
Copyright: 1994, ISBN: 
reviewed by: Lynard Barnes, July 5 1994
Summary: Inspirational in part, over-reaching in others: Speculative discussion on a scientific basis for Near-Death-Experiences and reincarnation. Reprinted from Crushies Book Review, July 1994 Volume I, Issue No. 2:
This is really two books in one. Not unusual for a book though in this instance you get the feeling that the author did not have enough material for the first book so the second was sort of attached by circumstance. Like Barbara Harris’ FULL CIRCLE (see June 1994 issue), Randle’s work deals with the near death experience (NDE). Four specific experiences are examined, including that of Tom Dolembo who is mentioned in Ms Harris’s book.
TO TOUCH THE LIGHT is a frustrating read. The author employs the rather annoying technique of using ellipses within quotes to supposedly indicate expunged material. It would have been less annoying had he simply summarized the quotes.
TO TOUCH THE LIGHT adds to the NDE controversy by stressing the question of whether we chose the time we die. In almost all reported NDEs, the person is offered the choice of returning to their dying bodies or proceeding toward the light. One of the subjects in Mr. Randle’s book (Sara Ward, a mother of three) said she was not offered that choice. Tom Dolembo’s near death also raises some questions about the time we die and choice. Riding in a car which hits a patch of ice and crashes, Dolembo is drawn into a tunnel toward a brilliant light. He is not offered a choice to stay with the light or return. He abruptly returns. Both Ward and Dolembo reported that their experience left them feeling at peace with life and a vague sense that they had a purpose in life–not unlike a mission but more aptly described as a purpose. The inference is that we all have a purpose in life. But do we have a time, a predetermined time that we die? Answering this question leads to other questions–some of which are tailor made to raise the ire of traditional Judaea-Christian believers.
From examining NDEs, TO TOUCH THE LIGHT goes into a discussion of reincarnation and past-life regression. The discussion can be characterized as light-weight to say the least. But to be fair, Randle strives toward objectivity. His failure in this results from an attempt to use science and scientific discipline to bolster the validity of reincarnation. It becomes a theme in the second part of the book.
There is no suitable way to use science to support a matter of faith. To make the attempt, as Randle does in a chapter devoted to the Bridey Murphy reincarnation case of the mid-1950s, results in a fact-counter-fact argument leading to a dead-end (no pun intended). The material on past life regression is similarly hampered by an attempt to see the science of it all. The specter of science is raised to bolster the possibility that near-death-experiences and belief in reincarnation are more than the product of the brain gone awry. It is a fruitless endeavor.
The first part of TO TOUCH THE LIGHT is inspirational though not well written. The second part is too superficial or perhaps attempts to cover too much ground to make it informative.