January 22nd, 2012


Book Review: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach

Everything you've ever wanted to know about decayed corpses, decapitation, dissection, and death.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

W.W. Norton & Company, 2003, 303 pages

For 2,000 years, cadavers -- some willingly, some unwittingly -- have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem.

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Verdict: Not the most serious look at death and dying by a long shot, but very entertaining and informative, with perhaps more emphasis on the former than the latter. If you don't like smart-ass authors, irreverent attitudes regarding dead bodies, or general grossness, you might want to give this one a pass, but I liked it, even if I could have gone the rest of my life without hearing about garlic-fried placenta recipes.

Also by Mary Roach: My review of Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void.

My complete list of book reviews.