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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

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6,796303542 (4.1)433
Recently added byHunterMiddle, jrthebutler, CJPG, KRoan, jacquelinia, HyzenthlayK9, BCTG, private library, ssimon2000
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Showing 1-5 of 298 (next | show all)
Gross, entertaining, enlightening and fun. Mary Roach has a knack for these characteristics and for that I am happy. ( )
  dtn620 | May 22, 2014 |
Mary Roach set off to find out all about dead human bodies in this book. She looks at the biology of what happens when we die, various things that can happen when a body (or parts of a body) are donated to science (crash test bodies, anyone? Or maybe testing bullets?), some of the history of what people did with dead bodies, including various experiments, cannibalism, and (of particular interest to me) she looked at more environmentally-friendly ways to dispose of a body (though this was published over 10 years ago, so I suspect more has happened with this in the meantime). Plus more.

Despite sections of gore, I really liked this book. I found it very interesting, and Roach often keeps things humourous! This is only the second book I've read by her, and I liked this better than Spook. ( )
  LibraryCin | Apr 29, 2014 |
Roach educates the reader on the multiple uses of human cadavers in a respectful manner with an air of lightheartedness. She also cites history on body snatchers and anatomists who rendered their services. Odd bits of information add to the reading experience.

Educational read but Roach's voice and humor really pulls the book together. Delicate subject matter presented with respect. Great reading for the curious and of course history/science fans.

"The human head is of the same approximate size and weight as a roaster chicken. I have never before had the occasion to make the comparison, for never before today have I see a head in a roasting pan. But here are forty of them, one per pain, resting face up on what looks to be a small pet-food bowl. The heads are for plastic surgeons, two per head, to practice on. IÛªm observing a facial anatomy and face-lift refresher course, sponsored by a southern university medical center and led by a half-dozen of America‰Ûªs most sought after face-lifters.

The heads have been put in roasting pans ‰ÛÓ which are of the disposable aluminum kind ‰ÛÓ for the same reason chickens are put in roasting pans: to catch the drippings. Surgery, even surgery upon the dead, is a tidy, orderly affair."

( )
  Melinda_H | Apr 22, 2014 |
Roach educates the reader on the multiple uses of human cadavers in a respectful manner with an air of lightheartedness. She also cites history on body snatchers and anatomists who rendered their services. Odd bits of information add to the reading experience.

Educational read but Roach's voice and humor really pulls the book together. Delicate subject matter presented with respect. Great reading for the curious and of course history/science fans.

"The human head is of the same approximate size and weight as a roaster chicken. I have never before had the occasion to make the comparison, for never before today have I see a head in a roasting pan. But here are forty of them, one per pain, resting face up on what looks to be a small pet-food bowl. The heads are for plastic surgeons, two per head, to practice on. IÛªm observing a facial anatomy and face-lift refresher course, sponsored by a southern university medical center and led by a half-dozen of America‰Ûªs most sought after face-lifters.

The heads have been put in roasting pans ‰ÛÓ which are of the disposable aluminum kind ‰ÛÓ for the same reason chickens are put in roasting pans: to catch the drippings. Surgery, even surgery upon the dead, is a tidy, orderly affair."

( )
  Melinda_H | Apr 22, 2014 |
A Mary Roach fan, I somehow ended up reading her first book last. I was familiar with it because I worked at Barnes & Noble when it came out, so I knew what a hit it was before I knew I liked the author. I greatly enjoyed Spook, Roach's second book, which deals with the metaphysics of death ("Science's Guide to the Afterlife"); but for some reason I did not get into Stiff.

I was under the impression it was going to be a more straightforward accounting of body decomposition, like a book-length journey to the Body Farm (instead the University of Tennessee's program gets a chapter or two), instead of an amalgamation of a few things one can choose to donate one's physical body to after death. It's still Mary Roach and I'm still glad I read it, but this author's first book is last on my list of favorites by her. ( )
  dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:46 -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 4 descriptions

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W.W. Norton

Two editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393324826, 0393050939

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