Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Written by:
Mary Roach
Narrated by:
Shelly Frasier

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
September 2003
8 hours 4 minutes
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.
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Amazing book for a science nerd. Humorous and informative on a subject one doesn’t often think about.

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The book is odd and quirky with tons of interesting facts about cadavers. The narrator’s voice fits the authors humor, which makes a macabre topic such as cadavers palatable and unoffensive. The audiobook is a quick, easy listen.

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Good reading for the curious. Is it morbid or nasty to read? The author's tone ensures that it is easy-to-listen-to.

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Stephen L.

Well done and entertaining.

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Dee A.

Wonderfully entertaining

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Paige M.

Mary Roach has written a masterpiece! A semi-serious topic with a humerus (haha) side - I laughed out loud (which had more than one person regretting asking me what I was laughing about...). If you're on the squeamish side, this book may not be for you. Mary brings us through the history of cadaver use. Discusses the rather grotesque past (and perhaps current) use of body parts. Offers recipes (please don't try these in my kitchen), and even discusses religious aspects of cadaver use. All the thumbs up.

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Chris Wolak

I've been meaning to read this book for a long time. It's a fascinating look at all the things that happen to the human body after we die and all the odd and sometimes disgusting things that have been done to and with human corpses. The narrator was pitch perfect for the content--her dry, sarcastic tone was delightful.

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sofia aguilar

I must give 5 stars...This book was recommended to my nursing class by the instructor. I have the hard copy and am now downloading the audio. I loved reading the book twice! The author was quite funny, I hope the narrator's going to be good at capturing her unique humor.

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