Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies

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9781883620073: Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies
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Written for both laymen and professionals, this book gives answers the questions that everyone wants to ask in a question and answer format. What really happens to a dead body? What does our culture do with corpses and what have other cultures done? How does a body turn to dust? What happens in embalming, cremation, cryogenic preservation, autopsies, anatomical dissection, organ donation, burials, and funerals? How do we transport bodies and what does a medical examiner really do? How about the more bizarre uses for corpses, such as cannibalism, body snatching, use in secret rites, research, and religious ceremonies? This book describes individual and societal experiences, drawing not only from the medical sciences, but also from the arcane and secretive world of the funeral industry. We rarely speak about death—because it is the pornography of our culture and we know so little about it. This book sheds light into dark corners of our society and proves that, once again, truth is stranger than fiction.

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Review:

Probably the most complete recent book on the physical and cultural aspects of death. Covers everything from embalming, cremation, cryogenics, autopsies, organ donation, anatomical dissection, burials, funerals, decay, cannibalism, body snatching, use of corpses in secret rituals and religious ceremonies. This book sheds light on a subject that our society conveniently buries--literally and figuratively. As the author argues, the topic of death is treated with even more circumspection than pornography.

Review:

I plan on being prepared when I croak. That's why I've turned to the definitive book on pushing up daisies, one Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies? By Kenneth V. Iserson. Indeed, everything you've ever wanted to know about cashing in your chips is included in this deadly little 709-page tomb, uh, tome—from A, for autopsy (step 2: "A Y-shaped incision that begins at each shoulder or armpit area and runs beneath the breasts to the bottom of the breastbone. The incisions then join and proceed down the middle of the abdomen to the pubis, just above the genitals."), to Z, for zombies (from Haiti, where live burials purportedly take place after an injection of tetrodotoxin, a fish poison that induces a deathlike state in which the victim exhibits no outward response to stimulation.) -- Discover Magazine

Some people will be absolutely fascinated by these details, and other people will be very uncomfortable... so... be advised. -- Terry Gross, Fresh Air, National Public Radio

Take one corpse, and add worms . . . A huge range of queries . . hundreds of questions and answers, that could be subtitled "What you always wanted to know about death, but were afraid to ask." -- New Scientist

This book is too icky for the reading public. -- New York magazine editorial group

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9781883620226: Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies?

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ISBN 10:  1883620228 ISBN 13:  9781883620226
Publisher: Galen Pr Ltd, 2001
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