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 expected something slightly different, but then again how would I know what to expect from this. It covered a lot of areas and topics and not just about what happens to your body right after you pass. What they do with donated bodies was interesting and a big part of the story. But it really helped my perspective on this topic and gave me a better knowledge base. It has some typical filler and conversation within, but I think the author did the work required to investigate the subject well, and its appreciated. If you're interested, then go ahead and get it. It will be enlightening.
Probably one of the weirdest books I have every read; and I probably would not have purchased it, had it not been on sale.
I am glad I did, however, and must admit that I found it most interesting and admittedly engaging.
Ms Roach does have a knack for making the bizarre pretty accessible. If you ever had thoughts about donating your body to science or any other purpose, this book might give you pause or at least give you another thought point.
It is hard not to recommend, but be prepared for the unexpected…ruhaaahhaaaahh!
Yeah, I would as this was recommmended to me by my daughter - an antropolgy undergraduate.
The history is a subject never approached by anybody. I enjoyed the actual conversation on how how a body is dismembered and yet, the people remain very much in touch with both the subject and the studies.
The realism and candor on the subject matter was done very tastefully and in regard to the topic of Stiff's.
Absolutely NOT! Not a best seller as this type book caters to a few of us who want knowledge of an unknown topic we do not discuss or ever study.
Had this book not been recommended by my daughter, I would never have read it. Tough subject and not for everybody's reading taste.
I enjoyed the nonchalance; I thought the author did an excellent job taking the edge off a subject that we all face but really don't want to think about.
I never thought about composting as an alternative to more traditional choices.
The closing scene where the author lays out her personal choices. After what she went through, her opinion was valuable.
This will never happen.
The story line as well as the narrator researched the subject matter, and this was a delightful story to listen too. The narrator has a nack for putting the emphasis on areas that were meant to be lighthearted. Overall I would give this an A+ and would love to read as well as listen to other novels by this author. Loved it!!!
This is a subject matter that many individuals don't want to talk about or deal with, however, the way the subject matter was introduced makes one want to learn more about what happens to the human body once one is deceased.
The personalization of how the novel was written.
Great author, I look forward to reading as well as listening to other novel that she has written.
it gave me at least a new perspective on death and what we leave behind. It makes a compelling case for the need of more research cadavers.
No holds barred approach to what happens to your body after you leave it.
Gag and loose my appetite. That is extreme for me.
Informative but strong to take worth the listen.
Well worth a read. Very interesting history of cadavers. Sometimes morbidly funny too. Certainly convinces one to choose cremation when the time comes.
This is the best book I have read in a long time. I just finished it and it was so funny and interesting that I have no problem re-listening to it again with my husband when we go on a road trip next week. It's that good. Absolutely fascinating with a wonderful sense of humor.
The narrator was fantastic and the detailed research of the author was quite impressive.
I loved her delivery.
I am an avid composter in my garden and now have a pretty good idea what's in store for me in the future.
Please write more books!
If the whole book had been like the last several chapters, I would have liked it more. I found Roach's narratives of her interviews and personal involvement in her research much more interesting than the lists of facts that take up the earlier chapters.
Well written, very interesting, a lot more goes on that I'd ever imagined. Some history included. Well read/performed. Highly recommend this for anyone with the slightest interest in what happens after death.
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