Book Title:
The Spirits’ Book¹
Author: Allan Kardec
First Published:
Paris, 1857, with 2nd edition also  by Kardec in 1860.

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This book of questions and answers is the first book of the Spiritist Doctrine that resulted from Allan Kardec's work in comparing and analyzing numerous messages from different spirits, through various mediums, finally compiling this collection of information received from superior spirits and publishing it under their directive (see our History section for more information).  

This book lays out the basic philosophic principles of the Spiritist Doctrine, teaching us about the immortality of the soul, the nature of the spirit and the incorporeal world, the relationship between the material and spiritual worlds, the moral laws, the present life, and the future of humanity.

This is not a personal work of Kardec, who says himself in the prologue, "The Spirits tell us that the time appointed by Providence for a universal recognition of their existence has now come.  They have stated that their mission, as messengers and instruments of God, is to inaugurate a new era of regeneration for the human race. This book is a compilation of their teachings. It has been written at the request and under the dictation of advanced spirits for the purpose of establishing a rational philosophy, free from prejudices and pre-conceived notions. It contains nothing that is not the expression of the Spirits' thought and that has not been submitted to their approval."- Allan Kardec

Additional description 1: From the back cover of the book:

After you have read The Spirits’ Book, you will no longer have any reason to fear death.  The Spirits’ Book will provide you with the answers to nearly all the questions you may have with regards to the origin, nature and destiny of each and every soul on earth – and those of other worlds as well. It also addresses the issues of God, creation, moral laws and the nature of spirits and their relationships with humans.  The book contains answers that were dictated to mediums by highly evolved spirits who love God.

            The Spirits’ Book is the initial landmark publication of a Doctrine that has made a profound impact on the thought and view of life of a considerable portion of humankind since the first French edition was published in 1857.

Additional description 2: Text from A.K.E.S.

"The Spirits' Book” contains the basic tenets of the Spiritist Doctrine.  But whether one is a Spiritist or not, this book is a must-read for every spiritually-inclined person.  The "dialogues" between Kardec and the spirit-instructors reveal a wisdom that challenges many of our preconceived notions about our spiritual reality, as well as about the causes and purposes of many things and events that are seemingly inexplicable. On a more personal level, the questions and answers featured in the book invite us to a better understanding of the higher self within each of us; they show us, too, how our past can be reflected in our present successes and struggles and how we can unlock the gates to a brighter, better future.  Throughout, Kardec's flawless logic, coupled with the Spirits' superb discernment and compassion, make "The Spirits' Book" a source of inspiration and resolution for the questioning soul, a guide for living ethically in our unsettled world.

¹Translation of original in French, titled “Le Livre des Espirits ”
² as published, in 2006, by the International Spiritist Council  
3 on the inside cover of a translation published (2006) by A.K.E.S.