HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Big news! LibraryThing is now free to all! Read the blog post and discuss the change on Talk.
dismiss
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Dead Center: Behind the Scenes at the World's Largest Medical Examiner's… (2006)

by Shiya Ribowsky, Tom Shachtman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
975204,741 (3.76)2
A city with eight million people has eight million ways to die For fifteen years, Shiya Ribowsky worked as a medicolegal investigator in New York City's medical examiner's office--the largest, most sophisticated organization of its kind in the world. Utilizing his background in medicine, he led the investigations of more than eight thousand individual deaths, becoming a key figure in some of New York's most bizarre death cases and eventually taking charge of the largest forensic investigation ever attempted: identifying the dead in the aftermath of the September 11 tragedies. Now, in this mesmerizing book, Ribowsky pulls back the curtain on the New York City's medical examiner's office, giving an enthralling, never-before-seen glimpse into death and the city. Born and raised in New York City's orthodox Jewish community, Ribowsky seems an unlikely candidate for this macabre profession. Nevertheless he has forsaken a promising career of medical work with the living, descending instead into the realm of the dead, enticed by the challenge of confronting death on a daily basis. Taking you through the vermin-infested Bowery flophouses and posh Upper East Side apartments of the city's dead, Ribowsky explores in gruesome detail the skeletons that hang in the Big Apple's closets. Combing through the autopsy room, he also exposes the grim secrets that only a scalpel and a dead body can tell and explains how forensic investigation does not merely solve crimes--it saves lives. But it is in the aftermath of September 11 that the ME's office is handed its biggest challenge: to identify as many of the fallen as possible. With poignant descriptions, Ribowsky provides a dramatic account of the office's diligent and unflappable work with the families of the victims, helping them emerge from the ashes of this tragedy while displaying the strength, grit, intelligence, and compassion that Americans expect from true New Yorkers. At once compelling and heartbreaking, Dead Center is a story of New York unlike any other, blending the haunting with the sublime, while painting a striking portrait of death (and life) in the city that never sleeps.… (more)

None.

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 2 mentions

Showing 5 of 5
In Dead Center we get to learn about a part of society that most of us probably don’t think about very much – what happens to our bodies when we die. This could be a very morbid or gruesome topic, but the author focuses on a variety of things other than the gore. First, we learn about what challenges face MLI’s (medicological investigators), including everything from identifying cause of death to interacting compassionately with grieving families. We also learn what characteristics make a good MLI. Next, there are stories ranging from the funny or bizarre to the emotional and moving – a recap of some of the author’s most interesting experiences. And finally, we hear about the author’s biggest challenge working as an MLI in charge of identifying all remains found at Ground Zero – a process that took over 4 years.

So, as I said, this could have been horrible and gruesome, but it definitely wasn’t. I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who is unusually squeamish, since an autopsy and the results of 9/11 on the victims’ bodies are both described. However, these details are described tactfully and for someone of normal sensitivity, I believe that they’re moving but bearable. The author’s training mixing compassion for families with professional detachment lends itself to the perfect tone for this book. He never seems callous. Rather, he takes his responsibilities to the families of the dead quite seriously despite focusing somewhat on his professional concerns in the wake of a disaster.

I found this book to be a fascinating look at a facet of life we largely take for granted. Like the people who create our food, the people who handle death are an overlooked industry. Part of why I love non-fiction is the ability to explore these sort of experiences that I wouldn’t encounter otherwise. Many of the stories he shares are moving and some are even funny (often those that end up not involving a dead person after all). His tone is that of a friend telling you about his interesting job experiences. The many stories are only connected by a loose chronological ordering, but they flow smoothly together. Interwoven with these interesting and emotional stories are the author’s musings on the place of his profession in society, their relation to law enforcement, and other philosophical issues. For me, this changed the book from just a parade of stories for the observing reader to an engaging and educational book which made me aware of societal concerns I was previously ignorant of. This made for both an interesting and an informative read.

This review first published on Doing Dewey. ( )
  DoingDewey | Jun 29, 2014 |
In Dead Center we get to learn about a part of society that most of us probably don’t think about very much – what happens to our bodies when we die. This could be a very morbid or gruesome topic, but the author focuses on a variety of things other than the gore. First, we learn about what challenges face MLI’s (medicological investigators), including everything from identifying cause of death to interacting compassionately with grieving families. We also learn what characteristics make a good MLI. Next, there are stories ranging from the funny or bizarre to the emotional and moving – a recap of some of the author’s most interesting experiences. And finally, we hear about the author’s biggest challenge working as an MLI in charge of identifying all remains found at Ground Zero – a process that took over 4 years.

So, as I said, this could have been horrible and gruesome, but it definitely wasn’t. I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who is unusually squeamish, since an autopsy and the results of 9/11 on the victims’ bodies are both described. However, these details are described tactfully and for someone of normal sensitivity, I believe that they’re moving but bearable. The author’s training mixing compassion for families with professional detachment lends itself to the perfect tone for this book. He never seems callous. Rather, he takes his responsibilities to the families of the dead quite seriously despite focusing somewhat on his professional concerns in the wake of a disaster.

I found this book to be a fascinating look at a facet of life we largely take for granted. Like the people who create our food, the people who handle death are an overlooked industry. Part of why I love non-fiction is the ability to explore these sort of experiences that I wouldn’t encounter otherwise. Many of the stories he shares are moving and some are even funny (often those that end up not involving a dead person after all). His tone is that of a friend telling you about his interesting job experiences. The many stories are only connected by a loose chronological ordering, but they flow smoothly together. Interwoven with these interesting and emotional stories are the author’s musings on the place of his profession in society, their relation to law enforcement, and other philosophical issues. For me, this changed the book from just a parade of stories for the observing reader to an engaging and educational book which made me aware of societal concerns I was previously ignorant of. This made for both an interesting and an informative read.

This review first published on Doing Dewey. ( )
1 vote DoingDewey | Feb 20, 2013 |
An outstanding first person account of the huge task of identifying the world trade center victims. ( )
  lpg3d | Jun 22, 2010 |
This book was not what I expected, but was still an interesting read. The first half of the book was mostly about the beginning of the author's career, and the second half was mostly about the incredible task of processing and identifying the massive amount of remains of the victims of the World Trade Center attacks of 9-11.

There were some descriptions of deaths the author investigated early in his career as well, some of which were a little too descriptive for some readers.

The book contained alot of the names of those who worked along-side the author, along with kudos for jobs well done, and subtle digs for those who the author felt did not do a good job....which made the book seem more like a speech some of the time.

I found the book interesting overall, especially regarding the enormous, laborious and tedious job of sifting through tens of thousands of bits & pieces of human remains ~ this book brought back the horror and the reality of what happened on 9-11, and for that alone, I found the book a worthwhile read. May we never forget. ( )
  porchsitter55 | Sep 14, 2008 |
How were the bodies of the World Trade Center victims identified? The effort that went into identifing the 911 victims was described in intricate detail. The author presented not only the coroner's efforts but the involvement of the victim's families. ( )
  Fanny | Nov 4, 2006 |
Showing 5 of 5
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shiya Ribowskyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Shachtman, Tommain authorall editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.76)
0.5
1
1.5
2 1
2.5
3 3
3.5 2
4 9
4.5
5 2

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 148,880,304 books! | Top bar: Always visible