Today I received a copy of Robert McLuhan's newly published book Randi's Prize: What Sceptics Say About the Paranormal, Why They Are Wrong, and Why It Matters. The book is available from Amazon UK and (via third-party sellers) Amazon.com . Robert tells me that an ebook version will be offered soon.
I haven't had time to do more than look over the book, but I still wanted to post something about it, because what I've seen has left me very impressed. For one thing, this is no fly-by-night venture; it's a serious work of research, as evidenced by its 48 pages of endnotes (in small print) and its 28-page bibliography listing a large number of original sources. There's also a detailed index.
Though the title might suggest that the book is primarily about James Randi, it's actually a general overview of psychical research and skeptical responses to it. Robert examines a vast amount of material, and from what I've seen in the sections I've read (and from many entries on his blog Paranormalia), his approach is cautious, thorough, and wise. In his coverage of Gary Schwartz's investigations of mediums (pp. 144-156), he covers all the major skeptical criticisms and acknowledges their strengths while probing their weaknesses. He tackles some of my favorite cases, including Eusapia Palladino and Leonora Piper, and includes all major areas of research - mental and physical mediumship, ESP, apparitions, reincarnation, and NDEs. He's also kind enough to include this humble blog in his "Suggestions for Further Reading"!
So while it may seem premature, given that I haven't read more than a few pages of the book, I still want to recommend Randi's Prize. Even at first sight, it gives every impression of being a very important contribution to the literature of this field. Of course I'll post an actual review once I've had time to read the whole thing.
By the way, Robert has created a companion blog for the book, which includes some excerpts from the text.