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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers - Mary Roach

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

By Mary Roach

  • Release Date: 2004-05-17
  • Genre: Life Sciences
Score: 4.5
From 373 Ratings


Beloved, best-selling science writer Mary Roach’s “acutely entertaining, morbidly fascinating” (Susan Adams, Forbes) classic, now with a new epilogue.

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 confirmation surgery, cadavers have helped make history in their quiet way. “Delightful—though never disrespectful” (Les Simpson, Time Out New York), Stiff investigates the strange lives of our bodies postmortem and answers the question: What should we do after we die?

“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, Wall Street Journal

“Gross, educational, and unexpectedly sidesplitting.” —Entertainment Weekly


  • Insufferable

    By Muéro
    Every paragraph has a joke. No matter what the topic, every paragraph must have a terrible, out-of-place joke. just imagine how many hundreds of paragraphs there are in a book and think of what it would be like to endure hundreds of pointless jokes. I would not have forced myself to finish this book if I didn’t have an upcoming book club meeting scheduled to discuss it. I don’t know how anyone can enjoy reading something written like this.
  • Favorite Book!!

    By MCSCOTT702
    I love this book and this author. The fact that she can take uncomfortable subject matter and make it interesting and humorous is a win! Her humor is sharp and witty!
  • I recommend it to everyone I know.

    By Jacqui LaVoie
    Excellent read!
  • Great

    By CraigybabyNYC
    I very seldom read books, and this is probably the second review I have written in my life. I finished the book about 30 seconds ago felt the need to post this before buying my next Roach book. AMAZING. Super interesting and absolutely hilarious. A few lines in there kept me laughing for days, standing alone waiting for the subway or something I would think of it and burst into laughter- so thanks to Mary for making me look like a crazy person. Totally worth it. A must-read for anyone with a pulse!
  • Very interesting read!

    By Sega Fan 2012
    Read this in college and although it made me think twice about donating my organs to science it was quite intriguing.
  • I really don't understand how people like this book

    By Dancemagic2(clubpenguin)
    For someone being interested in the medical field... This book is so unbearably terrible. I don't understand how this book got high reviews when it's just awful. It's hard to read as there are no attention grabbers, it's just flat out boring. I never write reviews for anything, but I am so compelled to write this review to warn others of this book. It's not what others make it out to be. It's actually boring and I fall asleep reading it.
  • Must read!

    By Momlovesheralyssa
    This book is exceptionally well written as it takes a light-hearted look at virtually all angles of death - organ donation, cremation, burial, preparation of the body, crash testing, medical advances, etc. It's written in a way that's not morbid, but rather interesting. I highly recommend this book.
  • Stiff

    By KS Barber
    Very interesting and entertaining book - especially if you are interested in anatomy. The author has an engaging method of writing and handles the subject of death in a matter of fact and tastefully humorous manner. I hated to have the book end!
  • A must read!

    By NoVerbalFilter
    ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC! I'm not the kind of person that has much spare time (or desire) to read the paper, let alone a book, BUT..... This book intrigued me so much that I somehow managed to keep finding that spare time to read it!
  • Great

    By Cobragal
    This book is amazing. Very interesting and informative.