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Stiff

The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Roach, Mary

(Book - 2004)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Stiff
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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.

Series that include this title

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Co., 2004, c2003
ISBN: 0393324826
9780393324822
0393050939
9780393050936
9781435287426
1435287428
Branch Call Number: 611 R628s 2004
Characteristics: 303 p. :,ill. ;,21 cm
Alternate Title: Stiff

Opinion

From Library Staff

You know Mary Roach, right? She does investigative journalism at its jolliest. Funny, irreverent, science-y, and fascinated by life. It just makes sense that she'd be fascinated by death too.

Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem.

Discover the amazing life-after-death adventures of human bodies in this examination of how medical and research scientists use cadavers to make our lives better.


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Nov 13, 2014
  • whyisitso rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Excellent book. Very interesting and (despite the morbid subject matter) incredibly humorous. Mary Roach is an awesome science writer and all of her books are worth reading.

Aug 27, 2014
  • Matooka67 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I loved this book. For those who like to read non-fiction this is a good read.

Aug 22, 2014
  • hsloan6 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Mary Roach, the author, has done her research. In a very humorous, yet respectful, style, she teaches you much about anatomy, history, safety tests, research, and so much more. I had to give myself breaks at times because of some of the more gory details, but thoroughly enjoyed learning and laughing out loud throughout this book.

Jul 20, 2014
  • msmigels rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

"For 2,000 years, cadavers -- some willingly, some unwittingly -- have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings.” A morbidly fascinating, witty and outright fun read. Each chapter is engaging in its own way, but strung together they seem choppy and somewhat unrelated, if that’s possible. So take them at separate sittings and let each chapter stand out on it’s own.

Jun 19, 2014
  • lbarkema rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book was incredibly fascinating and also funny, but mostly fascinating. I learned so many things, some I may not have wanted to learn but very interesting nonetheless. This is highly recommended for anyone not terribly squeamish and interested in medicine/science.

Feb 18, 2014
  • occy rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Very interesting. Not for the squeamish.

Oct 24, 2013
  • leooutlooks rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book is extremely well writen!

May 20, 2013
  • cmm740 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

The parts of the book relating to human cadavers were very interesting. Reading about the process of human decomposition strengthened my resolve to be cremated.

However, I did not think it was necessary to go into such great detail about the awful things that were done to living animals. It was very hard to read at times. If I wanted to read about this subject, I would get a book on it.

If you are sensitive toward animal cruelty, this is not the book for you.

Jan 05, 2013
  • ChocolateChips rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Not for the squeamish, but extremely informative. Who knew you could do so many things by donating your body to science (among other things...)

Sep 05, 2012
  • nftaussig rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

In a series of sketches based on interviews she conducted, Mary Roach discusses the various ways in which cadavers are used or have been used historically. In each sketch, Roach visits a facility in which cadavers are used, describes what she witnesses during her visit, and interviews the people who work at the facility. The topics she treats include organ donation, the use of cadavers in forensics, how surgeons use cadavers to improve techniques without harming actual patients, and how cadavers are used to test the safety of cars. They also include misuses such as body snatching, cannibalism, attempted head transplants, and researching the effects of crucifixion. After reading the book, its organizing principle still escapes me. Also, Roach's discussions tend to be discursive. A chapter on organ donation contains a long digression about scientists' historical search for the soul or qi. Her writing also tends to be self-referential. Roach interrupts her descriptions of what she is witnessing to tell us what she was thinking as she witnessed it. Some of these digressions are humorous; others are simply off topic.

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Jan 29, 2013
  • goodasgoldy rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

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!

Sep 05, 2012
  • nftaussig rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

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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Sep 05, 2012
  • nftaussig rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

nftaussig thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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