"In his ambitious and engrossing new book, Immortality, Stephen Cave invites us to reflect on the implications of perpetual existence, arguing that whether we know it or not, every decision we make is driven by our desire to outlast death. Part historical narrative, part philosophical treatise, Immortality examines the spectrum of human accomplishment through the unique lens of our collective obsession with living forever.
Cave’s fascinating study identifies four imperatives—what he calls the “immortality narratives”—which account for nearly every feature of civilization, from advances in modern medicine to the development of sophisticated religious systems, politics and the arts. … Cave makes the case for understanding civilization via these immortality narratives by supporting them with rich historical anecdotes.
…The way he seamlessly blends theory, research and narrative into a coherent and accessible whole testifies to the breadth of his talents as a writer... The greatest strength of Immortality, then, is its capacity to appeal to readers of all stripes."
"Cave explains how the seeking of immortality is the foundation of human achievement, the wellspring of art, religion and civilization... The author is rangy and recondite, searching the byways of elixirs, the surprises of alchemy, the faith in engineering and all the wonder to be found in discussions of life and death... Luminous and mindful."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"[Cave’s] sort of nonfiction writing is exciting. It gets the juices flowing and draws one into the material.
What Cave does so well throughout Immortality is to take the reader by the hand and carefully guide her or him through each concept, ensuring understanding before exploring assorted variations and difficulties. He’s writing for searchers, not people collecting knock ’em-dead refutations of positions they’ve already rejected. And his appeal is to intellectual curiosity."
-- The Humanist
"presenting his arguments in a brisk, engaging style, and drawing effectively upon a wide-ranging stock of religious, philosophical, and scientific sources, both ancient and contemporary... Cave fashions a plausible and compelling view of a life that does not recoil in horror at the thought of mortality..."
-- The Weekly Standard
"Immortality is a fascinating history of man’s greatest obsession and poses a stunning theory of society."
-- The Daily Beast