I really enjoyed Mary Roach's more recent book, "Packing for Mars." Roach's shtick seems to be pick a subject that the public has a fascination with, and go write a book about it by interviewing various professionals and asking embarrassing questions. It's not clear whether Roach really is as annoying while interviewing people as she seems to be, or if this is just a little narrative embellishment for the sake of making the book more entertaining, but she seems to revel in making people regret they agreed to talk to her. Especially priests and mortuary directors.
So, you can't get much more irreverent than writing a pop science book about corpses. In about a dozen chapters, Stiff covers the history and science of, well, dead bodies. Decomposition, putrefaction, mummification, decapitation, embalming, cremation, organ removal, it's all here. Also, cannibalism, cadavers used as crash test dummies and for studying bullet and explosives injuries, and where the corpses and skeletons used in medical schools come from.
The disposition of dead bodies has been guided for centuries by religious and cultural practices, often based on irrational superstitions or misguided scientific notions, and persists to this day. One wishes everyone could be as flippant about human remains after they've been reduced merely to meat as Mary Roach is, though I'm not sure I'd want her anywhere near my corpse. But this is a pretty interesting book, although if you have a low tolerance for gore and grue, you probably shouldn't read it while eating. Also, if you're one of those people who thinks death is very, very serious and dead bodies shouldn't be joked about, well, the title should warn you that this isn't a book that treats the subject with any degree of solemnity. On the other hand, if you've ever wondered how you'd like your remains disposed of, this book will give you plenty of ideas!
Yeah I would, Im sure I didn't catch everything..
It was really interesting things I didn't know..
I really enjoyed listening to Shelly Frasier..... I will loook for her again!
The content of the book is very interesting - different ways a cadaver is used.
My only complaint is about the author's style. She must have low self esteem because she constantly crowbars comments and/or jokes to show how brave she is, how pushy she is to get interviews, how "sick" she is (yes, I get that you like dead bodies for the 100th time), how well she understands French (please - don't tell a joke in French if you don't translate it), etc. So anticipate a few eye rolls when you listen.
I loved the content but if you are sensitive to animal abuse, be careful. There are several times when animal experimentation is discussed in detail, with apparently little concern for the animals. The author even makes jokes about this subject which seems very crass. (I'm not sensitive about jokes but it's hard to listen to horrible abuse and then hear a joke after it.)
I wish the author had let the subject speak for itself and just give the information.
Interesting, provocative, bracing
The Rise and Fall of Alexandria--where I learned that Greek physicians, builing on Egyptian expertise with mummies, used cadavers to make great strides in a science that was mostly taboo in the Greek and Roman worlds
Probably the chapter that considered the medical, moral, and religious aspects of
This book could not possibly appeal to all readers. But for people who are curious about ALL aspects of life (and death), I think this book would be THE one to read. I was personally appreciative of the breadth and depth of the author's coverage of a subject that I would probably never have pursued except for the book.
Roach's style of writing.
Laugh and cry.
Roach has the ability to make learning about corpses fun - would recommend reading - and confirming donor status on drivers licsense.
Frasier is the perfect narrator - her intonations fit well.
My preference for a good story is something totally unusual and not run of the mill stuff. Give me something I haven't heard before.
Great book. There are things in there I knew happened but didn't know the backstory. This gave me the backstories.
This book is not for everyone. But...if you enjoy the macabre, the bizarre, and you have a strong stomach, this audiobook is a great listen. Truly hilarious in places. But not for the squeamish. Excellent delivery too.
I could handle the details of decomposition in humans and even the detailed descriptions of the embalming process. But I turned off the book and deleted it from my Audible Manager after the lengthy and repeated detailed descriptions of cruel decapitations and other horrible tests done to animals. It's one thing to hear about the way a cadaver (who when alive willed their body to science) is used to test the effects of a car crash, but way too upsetting to hear about innocent animals being decapitated and having other animals heads sewn on and kept alive to see how their brains worked. Way too disturbing. Wish I had not downloaded this one and wish I could press a button and erase it from my memory. Where are the "men in black" when you need them? Wish there was a way to click and read all the 1 star reviews before buying a book...the way you can on Amazon. Maybe there is and I'm just missing it.
May be morbid for some, I chose this book because I am a physical therapist and benefitted during my school from use of a cadaver and have a clinical interest in the human body. I enjoyed learning some of the processes of human decomp and some of the types of injuries received in the variety of accidents. Could have totally skipped the section on how people used various cadaver parts, excrement, etc., for various cures and rituals. Overall, it was ok, narrator did a good job, but this book may not be for you if you are squeamish.
Her voice brings an intimate feel to the story.
I enjoyed some interesting facts I learned: like your skin sloughs off your hands first after your dead, or that one of the main reasons you die in a high velocity impact is that your aorta tears because it is somewhat fixed and your heart is swinging freely, or that they can figure out where you were in a plane crash depending on how much clothes your body was found wearing.
Not a book for everyone.
haven't read the print version
similar to other Roach works, so if you like her straightforward take on learning about unusual things, this is a good book for you.
So many good descriptions of her encounters with the gross...
No, I needed a break from the subject matter--dead bodies--occasionally.
Good book, good reader!