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Synopsis: Body Brokers is an audacious, disturbing, and compellingly written investigative exposé of a little known aspect of the “death care” world: the lucrative business of procuring, buying, and selling human cadavers and body parts.
Every year human corpses meant for anatomy classes, burial, or cremation find their way into the hands of a shadowy group of entrepreneurs who profit by buying and selling human remains. While the government has controls on organs and tissue meant for transplantation, these “body brokers” capitalize on the myriad other uses for dead bodies that receive no federal oversight whatsoever: commercial seminars to introduce new medical gadgetry; medical research studies and training courses; and U.S. Army land-mine explosion tests. A single corpse used for these purposes can generate up to $10,000.
As journalist Annie Cheney found while reporting on this subject over the course of three years, when there’s that much money to be made with no federal regulation, there are all sorts of shady (and fascinating) characters who are willing to employ questionable practices—from deception and outright theft -- to acquire, market, and distribute human bodies and parts. In Michigan and New York she discovers funeral directors who buy corpses from medical schools and supply the parts to surgical equipment companies and associations of surgeons. In California, she meets a crematorium owner who sold the body parts of people he was supposed to cremate, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits. In Florida, she attends a medical conference in a luxury hotel, where fresh torsos are delivered in large coolers and displayed on gurneys in a room normally used for banquets. “That torso that you’re living in right now is just flesh and bones. To me, it’s a product,” says the New Jersey-based broker presiding over the torsos. Tracing the origins of body brokering from the “resurrectionists” of the 19th century to the entrepreneurs of today, Cheney chronicles how demand for cadavers has long driven unscrupulous funeral home, crematorium and medical school personnel to treat human bodies as commodities.
Gripping, often chilling, and sure to cause a reexamination of the American way of death, Body Brokers is a captivating work of first-person reportage.
From the Inside Flap:
Every year some 30 percent of American corpses are cremated. And as journalist Annie Cheney discovered, no one keeps track of them before they reach their final destination. While the government has tight controls on organs and tissue meant for transplantation, there are myriad other uses for cadavers that receive no oversight whatsoever: parts are used in commercial seminars to introduce new medical gadgetry; torsos are used for stomach-stapling surgery practice; bodies are bought by the U.S. Army for land-mine explosion tests. A single corpse can generate up to $100,000.
Dead bodies, it turns out, are a billion-dollar business. And, as Cheney found, when there's that much money to be made without regulation, there are all sorts of shady (and fascinating) characters employing questionable practices--deception, distraction, and outright theft. Body parts are shipped via FedEx or driven cross-country packed in garden-variety coolers, and the deceased's families are usually entirely unaware. A favorite aunt has donated her body to help train med students at a university, but the school's boom in corpses, paired with budget problems, lead to her sale to a body broker. The cremated remains her family receives may be only a portion of her body, or not her body at all.
Gripping, chilling, and sure to spur media coverage," Body Brokers will make you look at death, and the family-run funeral home down the road, in a whole new way.
Title: Body Brokers: Inside America's Underground ...
Publication Date: 2006
Book Condition: Used: Good
Book Description Broadway, 2006. Book Condition: Good. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP2984788
Book Description Broadway, 2006. Book Condition: Fair. Former Library book. Shows definite wear, and perhaps considerable marking on inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP78279353
Book Description Broadway, 2006. Book Condition: Good. Ships from Reno, NV. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP86347339
Book Description Broadway, 2006. Book Condition: Good. Ships from Reno, NV. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP86859458
Book Description Broadway, 2006. Book Condition: Very Good. Former Library book. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Bookseller Inventory # GRP9021321
Book Description Broadway. Hardcover. Book Condition: GOOD. Gently used may contain ex-library markings, possibly has some minor highlighting, textual notations, and or underlining. Text is still easily readable. Bookseller Inventory # 2804863834
Book Description Broadway. Hardcover. Book Condition: GOOD. book was well loved but cared for. Possible ex-library copy with all the usual markings and stickers. Some light textual notes, highlighting and underling. Bookseller Inventory # 2810809563
Book Description Broadway Books. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Book shows a small amount of wear - very good condition. Bookseller Inventory # G0767917332I4N00
Book Description Broadway Books. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Dust Cover Missing. Book shows minor use. Cover and Binding have minimal wear, and the pages have only minimal creases. Bookseller Inventory # G0767917332I3N01
Book Description Broadway Books. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Book shows a small amount of wear to cover and binding. Some pages show signs of use. Bookseller Inventory # G0767917332I3N00