Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Probably the most fascinating book I have ever read. Nasty, gnarly, gross, strange, disturbing, and incredibly interesting. It bursts with dark humor, yet manages to maintain an atmosphere of respect. In a word, awesome. — Julietta Cole

A lot of discussion around death focuses on what happens to our spirits and is there a life after death, Roach takes a somewhat different approach and discusses the possibilities available to one’s body after death. Roach’s narration provides for both an informational and amusing take on what our bodies can do for this world after we leave them. — Misha D'Andrea

Mary Roach's fascinating account of the "life" of human cadavers is an awakening experience. At all times respectful and often times hilarious, Roach follows the history of cadavers through science's weirdest undertakings - from anatomy labs and human decay research farms to medicinal cannibalism - and proves the cadavers invaluable role to life.


"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 over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.

About the Author

Mary Roach is the author of Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, Packing 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 others. She lives in Oakland, California.

Praise For…

This quirky, funny read offers perspective and insight about life, death and the medical profession.... You can close this book with an appreciation of the miracle that the human body really is.
— Tara Parker-Pope

A laugh-out-loud funny book... one of those wonderful books that offers up enlightenment in the guise of entertainment.
— Michael Little

As weird as the book gets, Roach manages to convey a sense of respect and appreciation for her subjects.
— Roy Rivenburg

Roach is authoritative, endlessly curious and drolly funny. Her research is scrupulous and winningly presented.
— Adam Woog

Mary Roach is one of an endangered species: a science writer with a sense of humor. She is able to make macabre funny without looting death of its dignity.
— Brian Richard Boylan

Roach writes in an insouciant style and displays her métier in tangents about bizarre incidents in pathological history. Death may have the last laugh, but, in the meantime, Roach finds merriment in the macabre.
— Gilbert Taylor

Acutely entertaining, morbidly fascinating.
— Susan Adams

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393324822
ISBN-10: 0393324826
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: May 17th, 2004
Pages: 320
Language: English
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