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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadaversby Mary Roach
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"One of the funniest and most unusual books of the year....Gross, educational, and unexpectedly sidesplitting."'"Entertainment Weekly
A compelling look inside the world of forensics examines the use of human cadavers in a wide range of endeavors, including research into new surgical procedures, the testing of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, space exploration, a Tennessee human decay research facility, and a Scandinavian funeral directors' conference on human composting. Reprint. 100,000 first printing.
About the Author
Mary Roachis the author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, and Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. She lives in Oakland, California.
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
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