The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

  • Runtime: 7.9 Hours
  • Recording: Unabridged
  • Release date: 9.1.2003
  • Publisher: Tantor
  • Genre: Nonfiction/Science
  • 7.93 hrs9/1/2003Unabridged
  • ISBN-13: 9781400170975
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.

Editorial Reviews

“One of the funniest and most unusual books of the year…Gross, educational, and unexpectedly sidesplitting.”

Entertainment Weekly

Not grisly but inspiring, this work considers the many valuable scientific uses of the body after death.Library Journal

“Uproariously funny…informative and respectful as it is irreverent and witty…Even Roach’s digressions and footnotes are captivating, helping to make the book impossible to put down.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Fascinating, unexpectedly fresh and funny look at the multiplicity of ways in which cadavers benefit the living…entertaining, absolutely.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Author Biography

Mary Roach is the author of several books, including Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary CanalPacking for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, and Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. Her writing has appeared in Outside, Wired, National Geographic, and the New York Times Magazine, among other publications. She lives in Oakland, California.

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Reader Biography

Shelly Frasier has appeared in many independent film and theater projects in Arizona and Southern California and has done voice-over work for commercials and animation projects. She trained at the Groundlings Improv School in Hollywood and South Coast Repertory’s Professional Conservatory in Costa Mesa, California. She has performed at theaters throughout North Hollywood and Orange County. Recent performances include Blue Window, The Battle of Bull Run Always Makes Me Cry, The Haunting of Hill House, and a British farcical version of A Christmas Carol. She resides in Hollywood.

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