Stiff : The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

4.05 (196,337 ratings by Goodreads)
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What happens to your body after you have died?

Fertilizer? Crash Test Dummy? Human Dumpling? Ballistics Practise?

Life after death is not as simple as it looks. Mary Roach's Stiff lifts the lid off what happens to our bodies once we have died. Bold, original and with a delightful eye for detail, Roach tells us everything we wanted to know about this new frontier in medical science.

Interweaving present-day explorations with a history of past attempts to study what it means to be human Stiff is a deliciously dark investigations for readers of popular science as well as fans of the macabre.

'Spry, common, sharp-witted survey brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "Life after death"' Sunday Times

'One of the funniest and most unusual books of the year' Entertainment Weekly

'Every chapter packed with more arresting details elegantly humourously expressed than one can hope for' Sunday Telegraph
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 17mm | 224g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0141007451
  • 9780141007458
  • 19,369

Review quote

Well-written and deadly funny. -- Bruce Willey (06/19/2003)
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About Mary Roach

Mary Roach is a journalist. She has written for Salon, Wired, GQ, Discover, Vogue and the New York Times Magazine. This is her first book.
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Rating details

196,337 ratings
4.05 out of 5 stars
5 37% (73,172)
4 38% (75,579)
3 18% (36,189)
2 4% (7,851)
1 2% (3,546)

Our customer reviews

Even though the title is self-explanatory, this book explains what happens to cadavers focusing on the ones donated to science. As the author so clearly puts it: "It's just that there are other ways to spend your time as a cadaver. Get involved with science. Be an art exhibit. Become part of a tree. Some options for you to think about." Roach was spot on to recognise this as an odd but very interesting topic and decided to research not only what is happening to cadavers nowadays, but also what happened to cadavers in the past. I'm giving this book 5 stars not only because I feel much more enlightened about my future cadaver whereabouts but also because the writing is extremely easy to read and the scientific facts and weird questions are all there. Moreover, the author has a brilliant sense of humour and some passages are laugh out funny, which solely deserved the 5 stars given the "morbid" topic. Just read the book, you'll learn a lot of things - most of them you probably didn't want to know - and you'll definitely learn that "Death. It doesn't have to be boring."show more
by Ines
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