Shakespeare’s famous words, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women are merely players” serve as the foundation for Jeffrey Keene’s book, Someone Else’s Yesterday. It is the story of a proud warrior who discovers his past life from another century. It is the story of reincarnation, and opens up a Pandora’s Box (or rather Pandora’s War Chest) of the unconscionable sufferings of the American Civil War — a time in American history when a great nation turned against itself and endured the slaughter of well over 600,000 lives — more American lives than any other conflict in the nation’s history.
Upon a random visit to the grounds of an American Civil War battlefield, known as “Antietam”, author Jeffrey Keene, at the time an assistant chief with the Westport, CT Fire Department, strolled down a portion of the battlefield, known as “Sunken Road.” There, he was suddenly struck by an overwhelming wave of emotions that stole his composure. Feelings of grief, sadness and anger left tears streaming down his cheeks and his entire body shaken by the experience. The author explains that he was never much of a student of the American Civil War; however the experience was to lead him into a chapter of his life, which would promise great self-discovery.
The book follows Keene’s journey as he unravels, with the help of his own relentless research efforts and several spiritual intuitives, the story of his past life as Confederate General John B. Gordon of Georgia. Gordon, a recognized military leader of his time, wrote his own reflections on the war in Reminiscences of the Civil War and later went on to become a senator for the state of Georgia. Thanks to Gordon’s own documentation and historical accounts made by Gordon’s fellow comrades, Keene was able to recognize many uncanny parallels between his life and that of Gordon’s.
Moreover, the author especially notes the striking physical resemblances he shares with Gordon that are difficult to dismiss, as Keene writes about the correlation between Gordon’s battle scars and the author’s own curious facial markings, “…a total of three areas on Gordon’s face and mine matched, the small star over the left eye, the area of the bullet entry wound under the left eye, and the jagged line from the right ear across the right cheek. I needed no more proof of my relationship to Gordon, but I was continued to be amazed by it when it appeared.”
Throughout his journey, Keene comes upon many other popular theories regarding reincarnation that are recognized within the metaphysical community today, such as sudden emotional memories and even similar writing styles shared between two lives. The author also points out the possibility for young children between the ages of 2-7 being able to remember much of their past lives, as well as the concept that individuals who are in our current lives, were once also a part of our past ones, thus reinforcing Shakespeare’s notion that the world truly is a stage and we are the players who continually enter and exit. Keene supports this point by comparing facial features of some of his own firefighting colleagues to that of Gordon’s own associates.
There is no doubt that there exists a parallel within the life of a current day Connecticut warrior and that of his 19th century predecessor. As a Confederate soldier in19th century America, Gordon led his men, as he battled the atrocities of the Civil War; yet later encouraged the reuniting of the nation. As an assistant fire department chief in 21st century America, Keene led his men, as he battled the atrocities of fire and destruction, and particularly after visiting 9/11’s Ground Zero, encourages us today, to see our similarities rather than our differences.
The author’s most important message is the realization that we are connected to each other much more than we think in light of reincarnation, as Keene writes, “For many years I thought it ironic that we go through life gathering information, and when we are able to understand much of what these life lessons have taught us, we die and the knowledge is lost. I see now this is not the case.”
When reading, you will see that Keene asks a profound question that may make you re-think your interpersonal relationships. “With the knowledge of the soul’s existence…” Keene asks, “ …how would that change us as individuals?” The author is asking us to think about how the world would change if reincarnation were established as a proven fact. How would we then treat each other?
Someone Else’s Yesterday is a little book with a big message that will leave you thinking at a new level. It is a fascinating historical read, painting a picture of wartime sacrifice that pulls you back into the 19th century. Yet, although based on the story of a war hero, Keene’s book is about peace. “The purpose of writing this book was to get people to think, to start them on a path of self-discovery…Hopefully, they will notice in others not just their differences, but their sameness, or maybe some day their oneness.”
Thus, Keene makes an important point that reincarnation adds a new facet to our existence as individuals, it deserves to be seriously pondered in the hopes of bringing forth a new, more gentile consciousness for our generation and for those generations that will follow. As the world, (or the stage) continues to repeatedly enter and exit its players, Keene concludes, “…we leave our mark on ourselves and those around us; so let us strive to use a gentle touch.”
Jeffrey’s latest book is Fire in the Soul: Reincarnation from Antietam to Ground Zero. To find out further information on Jefferey Keene and his work, please visit his site at: jeffreykeene.com