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Download Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife Audiobook, by Lisa Miller Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.48 out of 53.48 out of 53.48 out of 53.48 out of 53.48 out of 5 3.48 (23 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lisa Miller Narrator: Linda Emond Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2010 ISBN: 9781442300927
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Drawing on history and popular culture, biblical research and the beliefs of everyday people, Heaven offers a new understanding of one of the most cherished—and shared—ideals of spiritual life. In this groundbreaking, accessible history, Lisa Miller raises debates and discussions not just about our visions of the afterlife, but about how our beliefs have influenced the societies we have built and the lifestyles to which we have subscribed, exploring the roots of our beliefs in heaven and how these have evolved throughout the ages to offer comfort and hope. She also reveals how the notion of heaven has been used for manipulation—to promulgate goodness and evil—as inspiration for selfless behavior, and justification for mass murder.

As Miller demonstrates in this absorbing and enlightening book, the desire for a celestial afterlife is universal—shared by the faithful around the world and across religions. It is as old as the Bible itself. While there are many notions of what exactly heaven is and how we get there, Jews, Christians, and Muslims all agree that heaven is God’s home. From the Revelation to the Left Behind series, Augustine to Osama Bin Laden, Muslims in the West Bank to American Mormons baptizing their dead, Heaven is a penetrating look at one of our most cherished religious ideals.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This fascinating, thoughtful, and challenging study tells us a great deal about what it means to be a human being.” 

    Karen Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author of A History of God and The Case for God

  • “Lisa Miller has long been the fairest and most engaging journalist covering religion in America. In Heaven, she has accomplished the impossible: she has written a book about religion that fundamentalists, moderates, liberals, and nonbelievers alike can read with extreme pleasure.” 

    Sam Harris, New York Times bestselling author of The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation

  • “With grace and insight, Lisa Miller has done a remarkable thing: she has written a wonderful book that weaves together contemporary reporting and historical scholarship, with skill and energy. The result is a smart and accessible take on the ultimate question: what is heaven? Lisa’s book is a good place to begin to find an answer.” 

    Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Lion and American Gospel

  • “A rare combination of journalism, memoir, and historical research by a self-professed skeptic who nonetheless believes in hope, this smart yet heartfelt book leads us into the center of one of the greatest conversations of all time. And Lisa Miller is the perfect conversation partner, regaling us with the wisdom (and folly) not only of the official theologies of the ancients but also of the everyday improvisations of ordinary Americans wrestling with the Big Questions forever swirling around this most audacious of hopes.” 

    Stephen Prothero, New York Times bestselling author of American Jesus and Religious Literacy

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patina | 2/13/2014

    " Really interesting to learn about different religious views and interpretations of heaven. However, it ended with an all-too-familiar 'we're all okay and as long as we like each other & smile, nothing else really matters' stance. you can't create your own reality. Or, you can, but it won't last. As Peter Kreeft says 'tolerance is not love'. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roseana | 2/1/2014

    " What I suspected all along: Our favorite notions about what heaven is like are informed largely by lots of sources outside Scripture. We've incorporated everything from Zoroastrianism to Swedenborgianism into a vision of a place where we'll see all our loved ones when we die, etc., etc. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kara Vehar | 1/19/2014

    " I loved this book! So many differnt perspectives yet the same outcome. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa S. | 1/12/2014

    " Wonderful and engaging. Miller did a great job talking about just about every angle on the topic of heaven and how it has changed and evolved through the centuries. I appreciated the open view of orthodox religions as well as their more open-minded counterparts. The author did her best to remain objective and present each view fairly, without adding her own bias. That was refreshing! This is a wonderful read for anyone interested in learning more about the views of others as well as thinking more deeply about their own personal beliefs and how those closely held views came to be. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Kovarik | 12/9/2013

    " The three major faiths--Judaism, Christianity, and Islamism--are recapped; but I didn't discover anything new in this book. Heaven is of course important for us all to talk about; but I was hoping for some new insights and found none. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Greg | 12/4/2013

    " Fairly well written and some interesting tidbits here and there but overall not too compelling, for me anyway. Not sure what I was expecting but I just didn't find this to be overly enlightening. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Molly | 11/18/2013

    " Interesting and a good read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Laila | 6/17/2013

    " It's not a good thing when the epilogue is your favorite part of a book. This was just lackluster and I made myself finish it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mam | 4/8/2013

    " This is well written and a surprisingly fast read. Lisa Miller explores the beliefs about life after death of major religions and shows the surprising similarities in all. This book is an excellent Book Club book as it leads to a wide ranging discussion of personal beliefs. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sally | 6/17/2012

    " Was like a research book. I expected more analysis and critical thinking. And I still don't know if there is a heaven. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 C.J. | 1/26/2012

    " A recent Pew Poll suggests that close to 80% of Americans believe in Heaven. But what do we mean by "Heaven"? Journalist Lisa Miller gives us a crash course in the history, development and and diversity of one of the most profound human ideas. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Christi | 12/27/2011

    " It was interesting well written enough to keep me reading but a little long winded "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 9/5/2011

    " I really liked how historical this book was. I wasn't expecting that. It doesn't preach or draw on too long about certain religions or factors. It didn't change my mind on the subject of heaven, but I definitely feel way more informed now. The end was really amazing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mitchell26 McLaughlin | 8/30/2011

    " Too light and redundant of other more scholarly works. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Greg | 5/5/2011

    " Fairly well written and some interesting tidbits here and there but overall not too compelling, for me anyway. Not sure what I was expecting but I just didn't find this to be overly enlightening. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elsa | 3/25/2011

    " My favorite question this book poses is whether or not heaven is boring. It's written by a woman that struggles in her Jewish faith which gives such a marvelous twist to the sweet images if heaven I hear too often in my ministry. I still wish she pushed a little harder on finding heaven on earth. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mam | 2/27/2011

    " This is well written and a surprisingly fast read. Lisa Miller explores the beliefs about life after death of major religions and shows the surprising similarities in all. This book is an excellent Book Club book as it leads to a wide ranging discussion of personal beliefs. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kara | 1/27/2011

    " I loved this book! So many differnt perspectives yet the same outcome. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sally | 10/31/2010

    " Was like a research book. I expected more analysis and critical thinking. And I still don't know if there is a heaven. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roseana | 8/10/2010

    " What I suspected all along: Our favorite notions about what heaven is like are informed largely by lots of sources outside Scripture. We've incorporated everything from Zoroastrianism to Swedenborgianism into a vision of a place where we'll see all our loved ones when we die, etc., etc. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 JoAnn | 8/4/2010

    " This is an interesting book about how the concept of Heaven has developed through time and what Heaven means to people. It covers many questions about Heaven and does it well.

    I enjoyed this book and recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Penny | 7/14/2010

    " I started to read this with a feeling that heaven was being debunked but by the time I finished I still believed in magic, mystery, and the mystical. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 C.j. | 6/12/2010

    " A recent Pew Poll suggests that close to 80% of Americans believe in Heaven. But what do we mean by "Heaven"? Journalist Lisa Miller gives us a crash course in the history, development and and diversity of one of the most profound human ideas. "

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About the Narrator

Linda Emond is an award-winning actress of stage, film, television, and audiobook narration. Her performances on Broadway earned her nominations for the Tony Award in 2003 and 2012 and for the Drama Desk Award in 1997 and 2002. She was awarded the Joseph Jefferson Award for her roles in plays at theaters in Chicago. Her film credits include roles in Julie & Julia, Dark Water, and Across the Universe, among others. Her television credits include such series as Elementary, The Good Wife, and Law & Order: SVU, as well as movies such as A Dog Named Christmas. She has narrated dozens of audiobooks, winning three Earphones Awards and being named a finalist four times for the prestigious Audie Award. In 2011 she was named by AudioFile magazine as a Best Voice in Mystery & Suspense for her reading of Flash and Bones.