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Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis & Aldous Huxley

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  735 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
On November 22, 1963, three great men died within a few hours of each other: C. S. Lewis, John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley. All three believed, in different ways, that death is not the end of human life. Suppose they were right, and suppose they met after death. How might the conversation go? Peter Kreeft imagines their discussion as a part of The Great Conversation that ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published June 16th 2008 by IVP Books (first published January 1982)
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Mike (the Paladin)
C. S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley, and John F. Kennedy all died on November 22, 1963. An odd coincidence that accounts for the little notice taken at the time of the death of Huxley and Lewis (the press so busy with the assassination of President Kennedy the other two were barely noticed.)

This novel is inspired by this fact and we are "privy" (in the novel) to the conversation the three have as they wait to face God and discover the truth of their "disagreements" and their lives. I like the book and th
David Johnston
Aug 04, 2011 David Johnston rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On November 22nd, 1963 when I was eleven years old three well known figures died within hours of each other; John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley. John F. Kennedy's horrific public death affected me profoundly as it did the rest of the nation and provided irrefutable proof that death is real and no one is exempt. Aldous Huxley I would not meet until Brave New World was required reading in High School. His book, The Doors of Perception provided the rationale for experimenting with psyche ...more
Nov 06, 2013 Andy rated it really liked it
One of the most dramatic events of the twentieth century was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. What is less well known is that two other great men died the same day -- Christian scholar and author C. S. Lewis, and novelist and pantheist Aldous Huxley.

Philosopher Peter Kreeft knew that Lewis and Kennedy had died within hours of one another. But it was on a Monday more than thirty years ago that he discovered that Huxley (author of Brave New Wor
Dan Glover
I have wanted to read this book for years as I think the premise is good and I am a big Lewis fan. This is a three way conversation in an intermediate place - somewhere between this life and the next - between three very important and influential men shortly after their death within hours of each other (C.S. Lewis, J.F.K. and Aldous Huxley). Fictional conversation is not a favourite genre of mine but it is moderately well done here, particularly in its grasp of the topic of debate and the logic ...more
Naomi Young
Dec 29, 2014 Naomi Young rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: catholic
I haven't read this in many many years, but coming across it now I am reminded of how much I liked it, and I want to point it out to you. Kreeft takes as his starting point an odd historical fact: C.S. Lewis, John F. Kennedy, and Aldous Huxley all died within a few hours of each other. Kreeft then posits a convenient sort of anteroom to the particular judgment where the three men meet and discuss the claims of Christ. Kreeft uses the three men not so much as historical figures as exemplars of th ...more
In this book, C.S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley, and J.F. Kennedy (who died the same day) meet in Purgatory. What follows is Socratic discussion with Lewis answering the questions and attempting to lead Huxley and Kennedy to answers. Lewis represents orthodox Christiany, Kennedy humanistic (modern liberal) Christianity, and Huxley an easternized version mixing Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity into a sort of neo-Gnosticism.
In the first section, Kreeft as Lewis debunks Kennedy's objections and ends
Mikey Gee
I must admit that I am reading just because I am a big Lewis fan. A bit of a Lewis geek. I'm just started so might have something to say about the play itself and what Kreeft is trying to do but for now I am just pleased by how well Kreeft has managed to capture Lewis' voice and style... though I find it highly unlikely that Lewis would ever use one of his own books to state a point. I've never heard of him doing it in any of his writings and it just seems very un-British.

Having now finished I c
Jan 19, 2014 Psylk rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Socratic dialogue I have read so I can't compare it to others and how they are normally meant to be. I will say though that while the content and layout was interesting I felt the argument a bit one sided. It didn't appear to me be three men arguing from three points of view but one man arguing one point of view while briefly acknowledging but almost mocking the other two views. There is a lot of mention on finding the undeniable truth but that seems a tall order when it comes ...more
George Shubin
Nov 22, 2010 George Shubin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was killed, was a day that all who were alive that day clearly remember. Although overshadowed by the events in Dallas, two other quite famous people died that day as well, Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis. This delightful book explains the worldwiews of these three men by means of a fictional meeting they have on their way to their final reward.

C.S. Lewis was an orthodox Christian. Kennedy was a humanist, albeit with a Roman Catholic bent. And Huxley bel
Dec 17, 2010 Alechia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow is all I can say. My husband and I were loaned this book shortly after we began attending our church. We both read it, and then we returned it to the original owner. We immediately went out and bought a copy for ourselves and read it again. It has sparked some of the most interesting and thought-provoking conversations I have had with my husband and others. It's a great book to get you thinking about one problem from different viewpoints. Each of the characters in the book had excellent poin ...more
May 19, 2016 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kreeft at his best. A kind of extended meditation on Lewis' "trilemma."
Jul 14, 2013 Luke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A sharp trialogue which masterfully pits the voices of Orthodoxy, Modern Humanism, Pantheism in an engaging argument over the nature and identity of Christ; while Lewis is the clear master as the voice of Orthodoxy, still Kreeft's fictional Kennedy and Huxley don't come off to me as fools in light of Lewis' wisdom, but bring up and clarify points of the philosophies they represent that, in the end, are properly distinguished from Orthodoxy, and echo many of the claims of both media and friends t ...more
Nov 12, 2015 Bryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book as an apologetic based on some apologetics that Lewis was most known for, but not much more than that even though it takes place in a purgatorial context. Kreeft says he wrote the book in about three days and in my opinion it shows, meaning that he didn't really attempt to leave his apologetical element in order to craft a more filled in fictional narrative that Lewis himself was able to do repeatedly. In other words, the characters of Kennedy, Huxley, and Lewis are not fleshed out ...more
Feb 13, 2016 Gene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A helpful look at some basic Christian apologetics in an entertaining form. I don't dare speak to whether he is allowing JFK and Aldous Huxley to be themselves and truly represent their philosophies, but it seems to be a fair rendition of the non-expert modernist and the typical adherent to Eastern religion/philosophy. Much can be learned about how to make a case for traditional Christianity by observing his C.S. Lewis handle disputes after just entering the afterlife with the other two.

I fear t
Jan 01, 2014 Sophie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think it's a great book. I wanted to read something that taught me more about Christianity and this was perfect. I had to read some parts more than once, because I didn't know anything about Budhism and Eastern religions. On the whole, Peter Kreeft did a great job
Mar 27, 2012 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What would happen if C.S. Lewis, 20th Century's most popular (if not most influential) Christian apologist, John F. Kennedy, America's youngest-elected and most romanticized President, and Aldous Huxley, one of England's more intriguing writers and humanist/pantheist amateur philosophers all met at one point? With Peter Kreeft's book, we can imaging that they'd talk about the one vexing question that awaits them after their death - God.

In Between Heaven and Hell, Kreeft provides an imaginary con
A Socratic dialogue using CS Lewis, Aldous Huxley, and John F Kennedy to represent Christian theism, Christian humanism, and Christian pantheism (in that order). I knew all the arguments so it felt more like a review to me but it would work pretty well as an introduction to apologetics and as a defence of apologetics to someone not very knowledgeable of the subject. The characters were written well (especially Lewis) and he was clearly to make them more than just placeholder names for their argu ...more
Apr 08, 2009 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Between Heaven and Hell" is an imaginary conversation among President John F. Kennedy, Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis, each of whom died on Nov. 22, 1963. These three men, Kreeft says, represent the three most influential worldviews in human history: Western theism (Lewis), modern Western humanism (Kennedy) and Eastern pantheism (Huxley).
What if they had encountered each other shortly after their deaths? How might their dialogue have gone?
The book is a transcription of that conversation as Kreeft
Joshua D.
On November 22, 1963 three great men died within hours of each other. What if somewhere, just beyond death, they met and discussed the meaning of life, and where they thought they were going after their death. This is the setting for Peter Kreeft's socratic dialogue, "Between Heaven and Hell." Kreeft uses C.S. Lewis to represent orthodox Christianity, Aldous Huxley for a kind of eastern pantheism, and John F Kennedy as an emblem of secular humanism. Kreeft makes no bones about who his winner wil ...more
What do C.S. Lewis, John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley have in common? They all died on the same day in 1963. As the title says, Peter Kreeft imagines a conversation between the three of them in some kind of in-between place after death.

I liked this fictional dialogue well enough. I'll probably even peruse it again at some point. (It was a very quick read for me.) However, I didn't quite enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I thought there would be more of a conversation between all three men,
Mar 16, 2013 Lynn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, ebooks
This was a very interesting discussion of Christianity from the points of view of three famous people who happened to die on the same day. I found the book from a link at the Wikipedia article on the three people who died November 22, 1963. The book was challenging to ideas, though not to read. I really came away from the book thinking about what I believe and why, and questioning my own faith. I do not believe that questions of faith are a bad thing. I found the discussion to be interesting, th ...more
Mar 13, 2014 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Between Heaven and Hell was my first introduction to Peter Kreeft in 1982, and I have just finished reading it again.
He has a straightforward, creative approach to apologetics. He re-introduces insightful arguments in the context of a provocative conversation: exactly where they should be. In his three characters, he juxtaposes Christianity, humanism, and a sort of subjective, eastern spirituality. His writing style is curt and his logic is tight. None of his characters take themselves too seri
Joel Wentz
Jan 12, 2014 Joel Wentz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This incredibly readable "dialogue" blew me away. It's based on the historical reality that three amazingly influential men all died on the same day: C. S. Lewis, JFK, and Aldous Huxley. In this fictional dialogue, these three men have a conversation about life, spirituality, religion, and life-after-death immediately after dying, but before moving into the "beyond". It's primarily a Christian apologetic, but it packs a punch. All three of the individuals Peter Kreeft portrays embody the 3 main ...more
A glib review of BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL would be, "It's like NO EXIT written by a Christian apologist"--but that's not a very fair review. What this short book is, is a high readable overview of the differences between certain kinds of modern belief--Christian humanist, orthodox Christian, and "Eastern" Christian--represented respectively by John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis, and Aldous Huxley. The twist is that the book is written like a play, based on the remarkable coincidence that these three men ...more
Mar 02, 2015 Stan rated it really liked it
At first I was over joyed, This is like reading C.S. Lewis again. it was obviously a one sides dialogue, but very interesting with Kennedy and Huxley! The swiftness and intensity of the dialogue soon made me feel that it just tired me....I wanted it to get to the point and conclude. Still it was a very worthwhile read.
This is a fascinating concept for a book. Unfortunately, the execution perhaps could have been a bit better. Mr. Kreeft obviously knows the works of C.S. Lewis well and even does a pretty good impression of him here. The other two figures are definitely given short shrift, becoming essentially the embodiment of skeptical humanism (Kennedy) and vague "all religions teach the same good thing at their core" pantheism (Huxley). In the end, I'm of the persuasion to want to side with Lewis, but I was ...more
Timothy Morrow
May 12, 2014 Timothy Morrow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An intelligent and creative way to express one's belief. This pseudo-play was entertaining from start to finish, I read it within three days and although I had a graduation to attend, and two bus rides, I managed to find time to read and enjoy the debates in this book....Timothy~
J William
Aug 10, 2012 J William rated it it was amazing
On November 22, 1963, three great men died within a few hours of each other: C.S. Lewis, John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley. All three believed, in different ways, that death is not the end of human life. Suppose they were right, and suppose they met after death. How might the conversation go?Peter Kreeft imagines their discourse as a modern Socratic dialog--a part of The Great Conversation that has been going on for centuries. Does human life have meaning? Is it possible to know about life after ...more
H.J. Swinford
Apr 21, 2008 H.J. Swinford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: A Young philosphor or Chrisitan, Lewis fans
Recommended to H.J. by: A customer at my bookstore
Shelves: read-in-2008
An interesting and somewhat entertaining read. Lewis' [fictional] dialog made me chuckle several times to myself, and I rooted for him aloud when Kennedy and Huxley teamed up against him. It's a nice little book for people who are perhaps learning a little about the three ideals (Humanism, Pantheism and Christianity...or Theism) but for an attempt to represent a discussion between three very educated men, the dialog seemed a bit immature and uneducated. The idea for the book is awesome, but I do ...more
Kathryn Adam-Hurst
I idea was good but I felt Kennedy and Huxley gave in too easily. For me a dictionary was necessary but nevertheless was very good.
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Peter Kreeft is a Catholic apologist, professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King's College, and author of over 45 books including Fundamentals of the Faith , Everything you Ever Wanted to Know about Heaven , and Back to Virtue . Some consider him the best Catholic philosopher currently residing in the United States. His ideas draw heavily from religious and philosophical tradition, ...more
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