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Paperback Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers Book

ISBN: 0393324826

ISBN13: 9780393324822

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book 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. In this fascinating account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers...

Customer Reviews

7 ratings

A great Read!!

Such a good read! So interesting and a clean read. She is so clever and witty I basically recommend this book to everyone. If you’re extremely squeamish…read with caution

Morbid humor, yet informational!

Saw a Reddit comment mentioning this book, and I was intrigued. The morbid humor and comfortable writing style seemed to be of a light conversation regarding a topic not openly spoken about. It was interesting to learn how many routes a body can take, and the history of what has happened to corpses before. Props to Mary Roach for thoroughly doing her research and being as included as possible during the process. If you aren't much of a squeamish person, interested in science or history, and have somewhat of a dark mind, this book is for you!

Gross, awesome, hilarious

I was already excited to read this book about corpses and cadavers, but the tasteful jokes and puns left me loving every page. I read it in two days. It was even touching to learn about how cadavers have been used to help the living.

And you thought death was depressing---

Mary Roach did her homework, and it shows. She has written and information packed, insightful, educational, respectful, and, yes, funny book on what happens to these bodies of ours when we get tired of hanging out in them. I have a newfound respect for all who have donated their bodies in the name of science. Not that I give it a lot of thought, but I figured cremation would be the most logical choice. After reading this book, heck, they can do whatever they want with me. I've always felt an obligation to help others, and if I can continue to do so after I have left this world, then HOORAY.Meanwhile, expect some odd looks when you are sitting there reading a book obviously about the dearly departed, and you started sputtering, and can't help but laugh out loud! Quirky humour, but that's my favorite kind. Thank you, Mary Roach.I recommend this book to anyone in healthcare, or the clergy, or anyone even dealing with people who experience loss. It gives you a new perspective. On the other hand, I will have a hard time ever eating gelatin again...

Absolutely,Insanely Fantastic

I Saw this book on the shelf and the minute I read the first few sentences I was hooked. I read it at work,on the train and at home. This book was so good. Mary Roach is amazing. She is respectful and yet she adds sarcasm and such great humor on a subject matter that many people avoid. I am an avid reader onforensic science and true crime. But, Ms.Roach opened up a whole new world to me with this book. As a reader you will discover things that will amaze and suprise you. Stiff gives the reader an insider look to what scientists and doctors do in order to try and improve the lives of the living. These people are the brave and silent ones who do what many cannot.This book is definitely a must read for not just the summer but for the year and the year after that.

Gee, Mommy, can I too be a STIFF when I grow up?

Perhaps author Mary Roach thought the title of her book, STIFF, too ghoulish because she immediately begins in a festive mood:"... being dead is not terribly far off from being on a cruise ship. Most of your time is spent lying on your back. The brain has shut down. The flesh begins to soften. Nothing much new happens, and nothing is expected of you." Carnival, Viking, and Holland America, take note.As a corpse, you can indeed, as on last summer's voyage to the Bahamas, veg out. Or, as the narrative reveals, be an integral part of other activities. Why, I didn't realize that being dead could be so lively.First and foremost, your cadaver could become the prize of body snatchers, and subsequently be sold to a medical school for the instruction and amusement of students. Or perhaps you aspire to become a crash test dummy, fodder for the military's munitions tests, or the subject of experiments in composting, freeze-drying or plastination. If you're unlucky enough to die in an airplane disaster of unknown cause, investigators may scrutinize your body, or its widely scattered pieces, for clues as to where in the aircraft the fuselage cracked open or the bomb exploded. Your dissected brain or heart could fuel arguments over the seat of the soul, while other body parts serve as the raw material for disease remedies. Or maybe just be eaten by cannibals. And, if you're the outdoorsy type, you can recline in a grove on a grassy hillside behind the University of Tennessee Medical Center where the various stages of human decomposition are studied and recorded.STIFF is one of the most fascinating books I've read recently, even after taking into account the "yuk" factor. (In ancient Rome, the blood of freshly slaughtered gladiators was thought to cure epilepsy, while modern day Web sites have recipes for Placenta Lasagna and Placenta Pizza for those who would consume the delicacy to stave off postpartum depression.) This is largely due to the author's chatty style and marvelous sense of humor, which is dry as a mummy. For example, when declaring the existence of a Central Park statue of a certain Dr. Sims, otherwise notable for describing a suitable patient position for gynecological exam, Roach writes in a footnote:"If you don't believe me, you can look it up yourself, on page 56 of THE ROMANCE OF PROCTOLOGY. (Sims was apparently something of a dilettante when it came to bodily orifices.) P.S.: I could not, from cursory skimming, ascertain what the romance was."I highly recommend STIFF for the not too squeamish adult, or as a scary Halloween gift for one who is. Or as a bedtime reader for precocious youngsters - they'll think it gross, but way cool, as children are wont to do.In case you're wondering, there's no photo section.

One of the Best Books of 2003

A book about cadavers (well, it's really about death itself) was the last thing I thought I'd ever pick up. But after reading the first few paragraphs, I knew I was in good hands. Sure, the content is fascinating in its own right, but Mary Roach's gift for writing is just as noteworthy. As has been noted elsewhere, she approaches a grisly subject with, alternately, humor, curiosity, forceful opinion (directed mainly at the quacks from previous centuries and their butchery in the name of science), graphic (but not gratuitous) detail, and unfailing respect for her subjects.Thanks to "Stiff," I'm not so squeamish about issues surrounding the deceased anymore.Mary Roach is a great writer. This book is a keeper.

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This month marks our eighteenth birthday here at ThriftBooks. As we transition into adulthood, we are celebrating by remembering some of the most popular books, music, and movies from 2003, the year we were born.

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