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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers…
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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (2003)

by Mary Roach

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,541362457 (4.09)502
  1. 121
    Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach (alaskabookworm)
  2. 31
    The Mummy Congress: Science, Obsession, and the Everlasting Dead by Heather Pringle (FFortuna)
  3. 31
    A Traffic of Dead Bodies: Anatomy and Embodied Social Identity in Nineteenth-Century America by Michael Sappol (meggyweg)
  4. 20
    Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These engaging, unusual accounts deal with the human body after death. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes wittily relates the work of an assistant in a crematorium, while Stiff presents an entertaining account of what happens with cadavers.
  5. 21
    Lenin's Embalmers by Ilya Zbarsky (bertilak)
  6. 00
    Shocked : adventures in bringing back the recently dead by David Casarett M.D. (juglicerr)
    juglicerr: If you liked either on of these books, I recommend trying the other author. Both offer nitty-gritty medical details leavened with humor, which helps make the gross details more bearable. For my money, Mary Roach is funnier, but I thoroughly enjoyed both authors… (more)
  7. 00
    Working stiff : two years, 262 bodies, and the making of a medical examiner by Judy Melinek (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  8. 11
    The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum (BookshelfMonstrosity)
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    The Shadow King: The Bizarre Afterlife of King Tut's Mummy by Jo Marchant (sboyte)
  10. 11
    No Stone Unturned: The Story of Necrosearch International Investigators by Steve Jackson (grizzly.anderson)
  11. 22
    The Dead Janitors Club: Pathetically True Tales of a Crime Scene Cleanup King by Jeff Klima (infiniteletters)
  12. 01
    Never Suck A Dead Man's Hand: Curious Adventures of a CSI by Dana Kollmann (meggyweg)
  13. 01
    The Red Market: On the Trail of the World's Organ Brokers, Bone Thieves, Blood Farmers, and Child Traffickers by Scott Carney (meggyweg)
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    The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey (MyriadBooks)
  15. 14
    Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell (jbarry)
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English (357)  Italian (4)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (363)
Showing 1-5 of 357 (next | show all)
This book would have been 3.5 stars if possible (come on GR!). The first half was super interesting albeit more than a little gross but the last 100 pages dragged on and on - had to work to finish it only because the author got away from the story of what actually happens to cadavers as told in the first half and strayed into what to me were some pretty boring tangents. Still interesting even if you just pick and choose the chapters you want to read. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
Entertaining and informative, Stiff was a book that kept me engrossed, laughing, shaking my head in disbelief, and sometimes just plain grossed out. I love non-fiction done right! ( )
  BrittanyLyn | Jul 22, 2016 |
I've always wanted to read one of Roach's books, and now I have and it was excellent. It is certainly not for the squeamish. She covers a wide range of human cadaver history from the Egyptians to body stealing in the Victorian period, to organ donation. Excellent. ( )
  hoosgracie | Jun 29, 2016 |
The anatomy class at a medical school is described in detail. There was even an individual who preps the bodies by removing all the fat. Gory but fascinating. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
4 Stars

An oddly fascinating and highly amusing yet also somewhat disturbing and often sickening account of the various uses of human cadavers.

As a reader of mysteries and thrillers that often involve forensic details, I am no stranger to gritty descriptions and gruesome portrayals. Nevertheless, some of the information in the book is particularly jarring, especially the parts involving animal experimentation and human cannibalism.

The author makes liberal use of humor throughout the book and while some readers may find this off-putting, for me it made the difficult passages more readable and served to lesson the harsh impact of the content.

All in all, an exceedingly well researched and interesting book but definitely not for the squeamish or faint of heart.
( )
  Lauren2013 | Jun 1, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 357 (next | show all)
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The human head is of the same approximate size and weight as a roaster chicken.
The way I see it, being dead is not terribly far off from being on a cruise ship. (Introduction)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393324826, Paperback)

"One of the funniest and most unusual books of the year....Gross, educational, and unexpectedly sidesplitting."—Entertainment Weekly

Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:43 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers-some willingly, some unwittingly-have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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