An oddly compelling, often hilarious forensic exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers some willingly, some unwittingly have been involved in sciences boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. Theyve tested Frances first guillotines, ridden the NASA… More »
An oddly compelling, often hilarious forensic exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers some willingly, some unwittingly have been involved in sciences boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. Theyve tested Frances 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. 13 b/w illustrations.« Less
the curious lives of human cadavers
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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funny and engaging. a terrific overview of the life (?) of a corpse. from crash dummy, to being on display as a plastinated piece of art in a museum to helping forensic anthropologists determine rate of decay . we all die, we all end as corpses. sometimes even dead we have a life!
Mary Roach, a journalist, describes various ways cadavers are used or have been used historically. In a series of sketches, Roach visits sites where cadavers are used, describes what she witnesses, and interviews the people who work with cadavers. She discusses the use of cadvers by surgeons who wish to improve their techniques without harming a patient; how cadavers have been procured historically, including a discussion of medical colleges relying on body snatchers; the decay process of cadavers and its use in forensics; the use of cadavers to test safety features in cars; how cadavers are used to determine the cause of airplane accidents; the use of cadavers to determine the impact of bullets and bombs; the use of cadavers by scholars interested in crucifixion; organ donation; the possibility of head transplants; cannibalism; various methods of disposing of dead bodies. In the final chapter, the author muses about how she would like her own body to be disposed.
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