Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

by Mary Roach

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Overview

"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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393069198
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 05/17/2004
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 49,956
File size: 679 KB

About the Author

Mary Roach is 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.

Hometown:

San Francisco, California

Place of Birth:

New Hampshire

Education:

B.A., Wesleyan University, 1981

Table of Contents

Introduction9
1.A Head is a Terrible Thing to Waste: Practicing surgery on the dead19
2.Crimes of Anatomy: Body snatching and other sordid tales from the dawn of human dissection37
3.Life After Death: On human decay and what can be done about it61
4.Dead Man Driving: Human crash test dummies and the ghastly, necessary science of impact tolerance87
5.Beyond the Black Box: When the bodies of the passengers must tell the story of a crash113
6.The Cadaver Who Joined the Army: The sticky ethics of bullets and bombs131
7.Holy Cadaver: The crucifixion experiments157
8.How to Know if You're Dead: Beating-heart cadavers, live burial, and the scientific search for the soul167
9.Just a Head: Decapitation, reanimation, and the human head transplant199
10.Eat Me: Medicinal cannibalism and the case of the human dumplings221
11.Out of the Fire, Into the Compost Bin: And other new ways to end up251
12.Remains of the Author: Will she or won't she?281
Acknowledgments293
Bibliography295

What People are Saying About This

Susan Orlean

Droll, dark, and quite wise, Stiff makes being dead funny and fascinating and weirdly appealing.

From the Publisher

"Not grisly but inspiring, this work considers the many valuable scientific uses of the body after death." —-Library Journal

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