Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, 2003 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 303 pages
21 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.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
7
4 stars
9
3 stars
3
2 stars
1
1 star
1

Review: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

User Review  - Carmen - Goodreads

Wow, this book was very informative. I learned about practicing surgery on the dead. I wonder if people who donate their body to science know they might end up as practice for a face-lift? Body ... Read full review

Good Book*

User Review  - kittie23 - Overstock.com

This book is good, but certainly not for the squeamish. She is an excellent writer, and it is an easy read, if you are okay with the subject matter. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
9
CRIMES OF ANATOMY
37
LIFE AFTER DEATH
61
DEAD MAN DRIVING
87
BEYOND THE BLACK BOX 1 13
119
HOLY CADAVER 757
159
JUST A HEAD
199
EAT ME
221
OUT OF THE FIRE INTO THE COMPOST BIN
257
REMAINS OF THE AUTHOR
281
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 302 - Read, Bernard E. Chinese materia medica. Animal drugs. From the Pen ts'ao kang mu by Li SHIH-CHEN, AD 1597. Reprinted from Peking Natural History Bulletin, 5, part 4, 37-80 and 6, pt. i, 1-102. Published by the Peking Natural History

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2003)

Mary Roach was born and raised in Etna, New Hampshire. She has a BA degree in psychology from Wesleyan University. She spent a few years as a free-lance copy editor before she landed a job at the San Francisco Zoological Society turning out press releases. She then moved on to write humor pieces for such periodicals as The New York Times Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle and Sports Illustrated. Her article "How to Win at Germ Warfare" was a National Magazine Award Finalist, in 1995. In 1996, her article on earthquake-proof bamboo houses took the Engineering Journalism Award. She published several books such as Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (2003) and Packing for Mars (2010).

Bibliographic information