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THE BOOK OF IMMORTALITY

THE SCIENCE, BELIEF, AND MAGIC
BEHIND LIVING FOREVER

What have we not done to live forever? My new book weaves together religion, science, and mythology in an exploration of the most universal of human obsessions: immortality.

For the past five years, I’ve been interviewing those whose lives are shaped by a belief in eternal life—everyone from a Jesuit priest on his deathbed to anti-aging researchers at Harvard, from Buddhist nuns to physical immortalists. I journeyed to David Copperfield’s archipelago in the Bahamas, where the magician claims to have found “a liquid that reverses genes.” I visited a cryonics facility; soaked in the transformative waters at the Esalen Institute; and attended a costume party set in the year 2068 with a group of radical life-extensionists. I also went to St. Augustine, Florida, where Ponce de Leon is thought to have sought the fountain of youth. How did longevity science evolve from its alchemical beginnings to modern-day genetic interventions? Why is eternal life symoblically linked to water? Interlaced throughout is a meditation on the nature of belief, showing how every story we tell about immortality is a story about the meaning of death.

Out August 20, 2013

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