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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Written by Mary Roach

Narrated by Shelly Frasier


Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Written by Mary Roach

Narrated by Shelly Frasier

ratings:
4.5/5 (498 ratings)
Length:
8 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Sep 1, 2003
ISBN:
9781400170975
Format:
Audiobook

Editor's Note

Unexpected laugh…

What could be funnier than dead bodies? “Stiff” was declared one of the top 100 funniest books of all time by NPR in 2019. “Mary Roach’s dissection (heh) of humanity’s use of cadavers in science and medicine is enlivened (sorry) by her cheery enthusiasm for the subject and her deft ability to explain, say, the process of decomposition in hilarious, disgusting detail — and utter clarity,” says the writeup on NPR.

Description

An oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem.



For 2,000 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.
Publisher:
Released:
Sep 1, 2003
ISBN:
9781400170975
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Mary Roach is the New York Times-bestselling author of several popular science books including Packing for Mars and Gulp, which was shortlisted for the Royal Society Winton prize. Grunt was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Science & Technology Book Prize. She has written for the Guardian, Wired, BBC Focus, GQ and Vogue. Her most recent book is Animal, Vegetable, Criminal.



Reviews

What people think about Stiff

4.3
498 ratings / 270 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
     I have a handful of audiobooks on hold right now through the Libby app, all of which have a million weeks' wait it seems like. So what do I do? I listen to the morbid audiobooks that are currently available. This one didn't land on a highly recommended nonfiction or audiobook list of mine (it was just so-so for me), but it was still fascinating at times. If you're curious about cadaver use throughout history and into the present day, and you've maybe got nothing else to listen to on audio, give this one a try and see what you think. At the least, you'll come out on the other side knowing a few more random facts about dead bodies that you didn't know before.
  • (4/5)
    I love Mary Roach’s humor and how she makes science interesting to someone like me - with NO brain for the stuff. I’ve also read Gulp and have to say, it’s best if you’re not squeamish when reading her work. She makes it all fascinating though, and I loved finding out what happens when people donate their bodies to science - and what was done with bodies in the past, before bodies were donated on purpose.
  • (3/5)
    I sort of lost the focus of this book about halfway through...I'm not sure what the author is trying to show, and I'm not sure I care. Interesting, yes, kind of gross, yes, but all that meaningful? I don't know.
  • (4/5)
    Gruesome, funny, fascinating, sad. Definitely hard to take yourself too seriously after reading this.
  • (3/5)
    Well, this is about as palatable a book as anyone could make regarding medical research on cadavers. The energy and humor of the opening chapters drew me in immediately, but either the material wore on me or the author was stretching to fill out the book with less interesting material because my enthusiasm started to flag in the second half. It's still a good book over all, and I'm tempted to try something else by her in the future.
  • (4/5)
    This book is fascinating! The section about what happens to bodies in plane crashes and how cadavers are used for safety testing in cars was super interesting. Did you know male and female hearts beat slightly differently and continue to beat according to the sex of their original body even when transplanted into the opposite sex?