Stiff PA

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  • Edition: 00
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2004-05-17
  • Publisher: W W NORTON

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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.

Author Biography

Mary Roach's writing has appeared in Salon, Wired, Outside, GQ, Discover, Vogue, and the New York Times Magazine. She lives in San Francisco

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 9
A Head is a Terrible Thing to Waste: Practicing surgery on the deadp. 19
Crimes of Anatomy: Body snatching and other sordid tales from the dawn of human dissectionp. 37
Life After Death: On human decay and what can be done about itp. 61
Dead Man Driving: Human crash test dummies and the ghastly, necessary science of impact tolerancep. 87
Beyond the Black Box: When the bodies of the passengers must tell the story of a crashp. 113
The Cadaver Who Joined the Army: The sticky ethics of bullets and bombsp. 131
Holy Cadaver: The crucifixion experimentsp. 157
How to Know if You're Dead: Beating-heart cadavers, live burial, and the scientific search for the soulp. 167
Just a Head: Decapitation, reanimation, and the human head transplantp. 199
Eat Me: Medicinal cannibalism and the case of the human dumplingsp. 221
Out of the Fire, Into the Compost Bin: And other new ways to end upp. 251
Remains of the Author: Will she or won't she?p. 281
Acknowledgmentsp. 293
Bibliographyp. 295
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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