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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers…
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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Mary Roach

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,009312515 (4.09)453
Member:TequilaReader
Title:Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
Authors:Mary Roach
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2004), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:anatomy, anthropology, autopsy, biology, cadavers, corpses, death, forensics, funerals, history, medicine, medical, science, sociology, non-fiction

Work details

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (2003)

  1. 121
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    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.
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    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)
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    Working stiff : two years, 262 bodies, and the making of a medical examiner by Judy Melinek (BookshelfMonstrosity)
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» See also 453 mentions

English (308)  Italian (3)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (313)
Showing 1-5 of 308 (next | show all)
Roach's humour is not of the rib-tickling type, but portrayed through forthright, straightforward language that is cheered with a light-heartedness and a few witty asides. There is just the right amount of wit, less gruesome content than expected (although the chapter on medical treatments derived from body parts was pretty grim), and the entire book was fascinating. Roach obviously enjoyed researching this book. Including her personal opinions was smart, a good way to handle the inevitable question. Stiff says what we all think about but rarely articulate. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Mar 23, 2015 |
A good book on dead people and how they wind up in the end ( )
  durgaprsd04 | Feb 25, 2015 |
Wow what a book!! It was at times funny, gruesome, unbelievably enlightening and informative and in the end I was left thinking that there is definitely more to death than meets the eye. Since reading 'Stiff', I have also been able to make an afterlife decision that I never would have considered before reading the book. If you want to know about some truly amazing things, things that too few of us have absolutely NO knowledge of, about death and what happens to ours bodies when we die, read this book. If you want to learn about the research and teaching importance of our cadavers, how how decay and the human body work, read this book. All our medical students and students of forensic science would struggle immensely without the valuable knowledge gained from this precious gift of donation that more people need to be made aware is possible to do after we die. Read this book and discover some insight into what happens to these teaching cadavers. I was totally confronted but at the same time absolutely absorbed! In my opinion we should ALL read this book, science has so much to learn and teach and would benefit greatly from our en masse education and enlightenment……. and hopefully our generous donations. ( )
  Fliss88 | Jan 4, 2015 |
I had heard of this book for some time, but didn't pick it up until my husband started medical school. After his nearly semester-long Anatomy class, I was interested to learn more about the use of cadavers to train doctors. When did this become common practice? What types of people become cadavers for dissections? Is it similar in other medical schools as it was for my husband?

Needless to say, I not only learned a good deal about the history of the use of human cadavers in medical school, but also a plethora of other ways our bodies can be used once we have passed on. Chapters include researching human decay, testing impact tolerance in car crashes, gleaning information from bodies recovered from a plane crash, using bodies in the army and ballistics, crucifixion, "beating heart" cadavers and the potential for head transplants, medicinal cannibalism, and composting as an alternative to cremation. All of the chapters are engaging and thoroughly interesting (seriously, the stuff you learn is fascinating), with a very clear and well-written narrative. Roach is both entertaining and respectful at the same time, which I appreciate given the subject matter (and something that is probably not easy to accomplish). It became a very quick read.

Seriously, this is one of the best non-fiction books I've read recently - I highly recommend it if you are at all interested in the topic. ( )
  skrouhan | Dec 19, 2014 |
The book was as good, perhaps better, than the radio reviews I've heard. The book is fascinating. I knew of some of the ways that cadavers are used in research and teaching but I still learned a lot of things. Roach writes in a humorous and informative way. Each chapter focuses on a different way in which cadavers are useful to the living or how they are treated by the living. The book in its style and to some degree it's subject is similar to The Mummy Congress; so if you liked Stiff then you'll like the other. ( )
  pussreboots | Oct 20, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 308 (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 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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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