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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadaversby Mary Roach
Synopses & Reviews
“Bernd Heinrich is one of the finest naturalists of our time. Life Everlasting shines with the authenticity and originality that are unique to a life devoted to natural history in the field.”—Edward O. Wilson, author of The Future of Life and The Social Conquest of Earth
How does the animal world deal with death? And what ecological and spiritual lessons can we learn from examining this? Bernd Heinrich has long been fascinated by these questions, and when a good friend with a terminal illness asked if he might have his “green burial” at Heinrich’s hunting camp in Maine, it inspired the acclaimed biologist and author to investigate. Life Everlasting is the fruit of those investigations, illuminating what happens to animals great and small after death.
From beetles to bald eagles, ravens to wolves, Heinrich reveals the fascinating and mostly hidden post-death world that occurs around us constantly, while examining the ancient and important role we too play as scavengers, connecting death to life.
"Despite focusing on death and decay, Life Everlasting is far from morbid; instead, it is life-affirming . . . convincing the reader that physical demise is not an end to life, but an opportunity for renewal."—Nature
“A worldwide tour of the role of death in nature that is consistently fascinating and fun to read.”—Seattle Times
"As fascinating as it is funny....The research is admirable, the anecdotes carefully chosen, and the prose lively; and they combine to produce a book that everyone in the health care field should have to read, and everyone else will want to." Caleb Carr, author of The Alienist
"Not grisly but inspiring, this work considers the many valuable scientific uses of the body after death. Drawn from the author's popular Salon column." Library Journal
"Fascinating, unexpectedly fresh and funny look at the multiplicity of ways in which cadavers benefit the living....Roach delights in imparting odd information, such as the fact that 18th-century students at certain Scottish medical schools could pay their tuition in corpses rather than cash, and when the curious facts unearthed by her research don't fit neatly into her narrative, she slips them into droll footnotes. Informative, yes; entertaining, absolutely." Kirkus Reviews
Book News Annotation:
From medicinal mummies to cadaver models for crash-test dummies, a San Francisco writer presents a well-researched, lively dissection of offbeat ways that the dead have served the living and treats medical and ethical issues. Not a life or death matter, but a spell checker/editor missed the use of "piece" for "peace" (p.150). Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
"One of the funniest and most unusual books of the year....Gross, educational, and unexpectedly sidesplitting."--
Bernd Heinrich receives a letter from a severely ill friend asking if he might have a "green burial" at Heinrich's hunting camp, andand#160;the acclaimed biologist/author sets out to explore exactly how the animal world deals with the death-to-life cycle and what we can learn from the process, both ecologically and spiritually.
A thrilling and lively tour of the world of blood, from ancient history to modern science, to dark and often gruesome legends of vampires and plague, this book informs readers about the most important tissue in the body.
Winner of the Magnolia Award
HP Newquist takes young readers on an engaging tour of the world of blood, from
ancient history to modern scienceand#8212;with an occasional trip to the very strange side of
the most important tissue in our bodies. Oddly enough, scientists began to understand
this fascinating fluid only within the past one hundred years and how its microscopic
components nourish the entire body.
Whether the tales of vampires, medieval medical practices, and Mayan sacrificial
rites captivate or terrify, this comprehensive investigation into bloodand#8217;s past and present
will surely enthrall. And if this account is a little bloodcurdling, well, thatand#8217;s half the
From one of the finest naturalist/writers of our time, a fascinating investigation of Natureand#8217;s inspiring death-to-life cycle
When a good friend with a severe illness wrote, asking if he might have his and#8220;green burialand#8221; at Bernd Heinrichand#8217;s hunting camp in Maine, it inspired the acclaimed biologist to investigate a subject that had long fascinated him. How exactly does the animal world deal with the flip side of the life cycle? And what are the lessons, ecological to spiritual, raised by a close look at how the animal world renews itself? Heinrich focuses his wholly original gaze on the fascinating doings of creatures most of us would otherwise turn away fromand#8212;field mouse burials conducted by carrion beetles; the communication strategies of ravens, and#8220;the premier northern undertakersand#8221;; and the and#8220;inadvertent teamworkand#8221; among wolves and large cats, foxes and weasels, bald eagles and nuthatches in cold-weather dispersal of prey. Heinrich reveals, too, how and where humans still play our ancient and important role as scavengers, thereby turningand#8212;not dust to dustand#8212;but life to life.
About the Author
Mary Roach's popular column in Salon inspired this book. She is also the author of the "My Planet" column in Reader's Digest. Her writing has appeared in Outside, the New York Times Magazine, and numerous other publications. She lives in San Francisco.
Table of Contents
A head is a terrible thing to waste : practicing surgery on the dead — Crimes of anatomy : body snatching and other sordid tales from the dawn of human dissection — Life after death : on human decay and what can be done about it — Dead man driving : human crash test dummies and the ghastly, necessary science of impact tolerance — Beyond the black box : when the bodies of the passengers must tell the story of a crash — The cadaver who joined the army : the sticky ethics of bullets and bombs — Holy cadaver : the crucifixion experiments — How to know if you're dead : beating-heart cadavers, live burial, and the scientific search for the soul — Just a head : decapitation, reanimation, and the human head transplant — Eat me : medicinal cannibalism and the case of the human dumplings — Out of the fire, into the compost bin : and other new ways to end up — Remains of the author : will she or won't she?
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