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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers…

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

by Mary Roach

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7,218333494 (4.09)476
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
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
    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. 21
    The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  7. 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)
  8. 00
    Working stiff : two years, 262 bodies, and the making of a medical examiner by Judy Melinek (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  9. 00
    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)
  14. 02
    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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» See also 476 mentions

English (329)  Italian (3)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (334)
Showing 1-5 of 329 (next | show all)
Stiff is a no-nonsense comical look (well as comical as it can be) at what happens to your body when you die and you decide to donate to science, bury or cremate. Roach also takes an informative look at what has happened to bodies historically all in the name of science.

There were some laugh out loud moments but on the whole I was just fascinated - how human cadavers are used post-mortem is not something the average person would typically think of and to be honest a lot of it made me queasy.

This book is not for the faint-of-heart and if you are looking for comfort about your choice about how your body is disposed of do not read this book. Any of the possible options that could be done with a body is not comforting. Even Roach's description of being an organ donor made me think twice. In conclusion, for me personally it was probably better not to know all the details as I am a squeamish person.

Interesting book but made me feel quite sick. ( )
  4everfanatical | Nov 26, 2015 |
Who knew death could be so versatile, entertaining and fascinating? Roach does a fantastic job of describing life after death and how cadavers improve our knowledge, our safety and our health. With a great deal of humour, she describes her research, interviews and adventures, putting them in a historical and social context to show how mindsets have evolved. It's a delicate topic that she masters with both verve and respect, ensuring to present professionals' work with care and attentiveness and the lengths to which they go to treat bodies properly. it's insightful and eye-opening: a great read! ( )
  Cecilturtle | Nov 22, 2015 |
For such a gruesome topic, "Stiff" is written with great depth and humor. Every chapter is well researched, and it is amazing how many aspects of life are influenced by research on cadavers. Not sure it will convince more people to give up their dead bodies for science, nor is this a stated purpose, but it does make you think about utility in the great beyond. I also found the research ethics threads very interesting. ( )
  albertgoldfain | Nov 21, 2015 |
What a fascinating book! Roach writes Stiff with so much humor infused into the science that you forget you are reading a book about dead bodies. Stiff is incredibly informative, and not just about human cadavers. Her topics touch on religion (how different religions view the dead and their remains), crime, accidents, and the medical field to name a few. While some may be wary of the grotesque subject of cadavers, I found it riveting and enlightening. I believe even the squeamish could read this and not cringe (well, not too much anyway).

(As a side note, reading this in public makes for a great conversation starter.) ( )
  Kristymk18 | Nov 12, 2015 |
Often tedious and not particularly interesting, except for the chapter on beating-heart cadavers. This may be because I knew too much about the subject already. ( )
  Michael.Xolotl | Nov 11, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 329 (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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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

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W.W. Norton

2 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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Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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