Possessing the Dead

Possessing the Dead : The Artful Science of Anatomy

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London, 1868: visiting Australian Aboriginal cricketer Charles Rose has died in Guy's Hospital. What happened next is shrouded in mystery. The only certainty is that - like Mary Whitehead, who died in the nearby Newington Workhouse, and Eugene Green, who shot himself on a deserted Adelaide railway platform - Charles Rose's body did not go directly to a grave. Written with clarity and verve, and drawing on a rich array of material, Possessing the Dead explores the disturbing history of the cadaver trade in Scotland, England and Australia, where laws once gave certain officials possession of the dead, and no corpse lying in a workhouse, hospital, asylum or gaol was entirely safe from interference. With a blend of curiosity, delight in the unexpected and an eye for detail, award-winning historian Helen MacDonald brings to life this gruesome past to reveal the chicanery at play behind the procuring of bodies for dissections, autopsies and collections.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 154 x 232 x 26mm | 399.16g
  • Melbourne University Press
  • Carlton, Australia
  • English
  • 0522857353
  • 9780522857351
  • 451,133

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Review quote

"MacDonald is that rare and precious commodity: a crack historian with a taste for the bizarre." --New York Times Book Review

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About Helen Patricia MacDonald

Helen MacDonald is the author of the critically acclaimed Human Remains.

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