For two thousand years, cadavers (some willingly, some unwittingly) have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. They've tested France's first guillotines, ridden the NASA Space Shuttle, been crucified in a Parisian laboratory to test the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and helped solve the mystery of TWA Flight 800. For every new surgical procedure, from heart transplants to gender reassignment surgery, cadavers have been there alongside surgeons, making history in their quiet way.
In this fascinating, ennobling account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries from the anatomy labs and human-sourced pharmacies of medieval and nineteenth-century Europe to a human decay research facility in Tennessee, to a plastic surgery practice lab, to a Scandinavian funeral directors' conference on human composting. In her droll, inimitable voice, Roach tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.
©2003 Mary Roach; (P)2003 Tantor Media, Inc.
"Uproariously funny....informative and respectful...irreverent and witty....impossible to put down." (Publishers Weekly)
"Not grisly but inspiring, this work considers the many valuable scientific uses of the body after death." (Library Journal)
"One of the funniest and most unusual books of the year." (Entertainment Weekly)
I'm an avid audible book listener. I am a huge fan of supernatural books and like stuff that is scary but well written. I live in Denver Co
I didn't finish because it was pretty graphic about what happens to a body after death but it was interesting. I did pass it on to my son who is entering medical school. He liked it!
Mary Roach's compilation on the lives of human cadavers is extremely interesting, and told with a humorous edge so as to not freak out the listener. I well done book!
Retired military. Spend my time just listening to books, when i cant handle reading.
It really is interesting and funny, and nauseatingly gross.
I don't know any other book like this.
I was nauseatingly cheerful while listening to this book
I would recommend this to any youth that is thinking seriously about a medical career.
I love audio books, fiction and nonfiction. I seem to be drawn to the Scandinavian writers and their narrators.
In the nonfiction category somewhere in the middle.
Shelly informs some of the passages with humor by her vocal timings and inflections.
It was very informative and highlighted some misconceptions I had about the subject matter.
I wasn't sure about buying this book when I read some of the previous reviews, but I liked it and will definitely recommended.
An interesting look at what happens with the body after death. Presented in a straight-forward manner, not skipping on details but not purposely gory or morbid. This book explores thinks like being donated to science, the embalming process and a general overview of the processes a body goes through. The author throws in bits of her own thinking along the way, acknowledging the touchy and sometimes squeamish subject matter at hand with wit and sometimes skepticism. You will have a chuckle or two with her along the way. Overall, a very enjoyable way to become informed on the unusual topic of the body after.
Sort of a textbook, but the kind that is interesting and not too stiff (no pun intended). Due to the educational matter and how it is formatted into specific sections, leading and building upon one another.
You get a sense of camaraderie and understanding when she expresses discomfort or a sense of just being weirded out by some of the subject matter. It makes your average Joe feel that he is not alone in his discomfort with some of the material presented in this book.
The Life of a Stiff
This book was very informative and very interesting with quite a lot of humor.
This was my first but definetly not my last.
Choices we have after death and how lucky we are to live in such a time with the advances of medicine. In part because of cadavers.
This book is one of my favorite listens. It is very well performed and the author put in so much time she invested and all of the things she saw, smelled, and listened. I have recommended this book to my family and friends.
No. Her taste runs a bit dark for me. Too graphic for my over-imagination and weak stomach.
The power of one.
The narrator was good and her writing style was very descriptive
I didn't make it far into this book. Only about 20 minutes. It was fun and witty and I was enjoying myself until she began describing the chopped cadaver heads in roasting pans
Non-fiction, fiction--I read widely. Except bodice rippers. I'd rather pull my own eyelashes out than read romance. Avid, happy reader.
What a waste of a really terrific narrator, and some wry, very funny humor on the part of the author. This book will literally make you feel sick, and that's coming from a criminologist with a pretty strong stomach. The worst part, though, is about halfway through, when she shifts her attention (why?) to medical research featuring live animals rather than cadavers . . . and describes the things done to them in graphic, horrible detail. This isn't brief, and I couldn't get through it (finally wondering why I was even trying).
Only audible book I haven't finished, ever. It's sad, because Roach is freaking funny, and Frasier's narration is just dead pan-perfect for the humor. The gore, and finally, the animal stuff, was just too much for me.
Loved the narrator, but the production was not top quality..
The idea of med students holding a memorial service for their dissection cadavers.
This is not a book of characters - just Mary, the researcher, and the stiffs.
Yes, but went well in intervals too
Made a very good job of what what might be considered a very sensitive subject.
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