I gather the book from which this news item is taken is Whisperers: The Secret History of the Spirit World which is not yet released by Amazon co. uk but is already available from Amazon.com. As explained the book is based on the author's University of Exeter Master's thesis.
Here's a reader review on it:
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Readable Scholarly History of Spirits 8 July 2013
By Pamela Grundy - Published on Amazon.com
W. H. Brennan's history of the effect of spirits on human civilization is a great read whether you personally believe in spirits or not. Impeccably researched and footnoted yet written with lively and even entertaining prose, Whisperers will hold the interest of even the most diehard skeptic.
Those of us who have been calling for a new, more comprehensive paradigm for Western knowledge for ages will be absolutely thrilled by this book.
In recent years, the tide has started to turn against the strident voices forever insisting that magic and spirits are bunk, pure and simple. What we take for granted is changing. Discoveries in quantum physics continue to open doors to other realities, and people are less reticent to share personal experiences and their own understanding of esoteric phenomena. Even if physicists still cringe when people they consider to be 'fringe' thinkers mention the 'q' word, even briefly, writers do it anyway, the point of being that, seriously, there really ARE 'more things in heaven and earth' than are dreamt in the old philosophy.
What really impressed me is that Brennan doesn't need the 'q' word at all in his history, so compelling are the facts, and so good is he at documenting them. The book is based on his University of Exeter master's thesis. An earlier, shorter version received the imprimatur of formal academia. This is no small matter, since in past years it has been next to impossible to write on such topics without ruining one's academic reputation or losing funding or tenure or both. Brennan makes the point that professional academics have all the same information he has, but the threat of career implosion prevents them from publicly reaching his conclusions.
This is a good enough reason to read the book all by itself, but an even better one is this:
If spirits are real, and spirit communication is real, and magic is real, and we refuse to look at any of it seriously or research if in any way, what does that make us? Sitting ducks I'd say, and if you aren't disturbed by Brennan's material on Nazism and its uses of the Occult, I just don't know what to say. I suppose you also park your car in Detroit and eat lunch meat made from pink slime, and that's your business, go ahead and keep it up, but for myself, I want to know more.
Brennan's news isn't all grim. Lots of positive and/or neutral things have come of spirit/human interaction too, and Brennan provides many historical anecdotes and resources. The healing arts, for example, may in fact have originated from spirit contact.
I have been slowly but surely putting together a collection of serious modern texts on spirits and related topics, and it is so encouraging to see more and more of them year after year. New paradigms begin this way: Failing to gain traction within traditional academia, (or gaining only a little on the outermost margins), some researchers, scientists, historians, and philosophers will go ahead and write their books anyway, pursue their ideas anyway, and before you know it, the old way has passed into the realm of phlogiston and leeches and Martian canals and the new way is already here.
Whisperers deserves a place of honor in this emerging library.