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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

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6,698None557 (4.09)430
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

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

anatomy (62) anthropology (42) audiobook (23) autopsy (40) biology (120) bodies (30) cadaver (31) cadavers (229) corpses (55) dead (35) death (517) Death and Dying (27) ebook (25) forensic science (36) forensics (181) funerals (30) history (79) humor (190) library (22) medical (67) medicine (185) non-fiction (1,100) own (50) popular science (48) read (104) research (25) science (640) sociology (43) to-read (136) unread (41)
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English (295)  Italian (3)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (300)
Showing 1-5 of 295 (next | show all)
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 |
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 |
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 |
Young Reader Reaction: The author reveals different and curious things about dead bodies and what happens to them, all with a hilarious twist of humor. I found Stiff interesting and humorous. It is packed with information. It is a fantastic read and I recommend it for young adults and adults alike. Younger audiences might not understand the clever jokes and some of the vocabulary can be difficult. The author covers the grim subjects of death and corpses in the best way possible. I would definitely rate this book a 10 out of 10 so pick this novel up or any novel by Mary Roach!

To read our full review, go to The Reading Tub®.
  TheReadingTub | Apr 8, 2014 |
Ok, so the book undoubtedly has lots of information on death and it's timeline.

The author covers many topics in the book like - human dissection, decay of a corpse, how a corpse gets used in fields of crash-testing to make better automobiles for the living, in forensics to help determine the cause of flight crash, in military to make better bullets and of course medicine to learn more about animals and we humans.

The chapter 'Life after death' is absolutely amazing with a bulk load of detail on the journey of a corpse towards decay. The author unveils the stages of body decomposition in extremely intriguing way. A chapter also provides insight into what death itself is and how to recognize it.

The chapter Just a head talks about head transplant and how it was done on animals. I'm still speculating the consequences of what would happen if it is allowed to be done on humans. The chapter is by and large the most thought-provoking.

There were a couple of 'downs' in the book. The chapter 'The cadaver who joined the army' is more of a political drama. I'd have preferred the author to dig deeper into 'what actually happens when a bullet enters a human body'. The 'human dumplings' section could also be abridged by a couple of pages to come to the point. Yes, we all know, humans ate humans in the past! ( )
  nmarun | Mar 11, 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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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Audible.com

Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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W.W. Norton

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

Editions: 0393324826, 0393050939

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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