I happened to see this book while in a book store with Lauren a couple of years ago and picked it up for her. She has this weird fascination with cadavers and medical stuff like that in general; I, however, do not really care for medical stuff. I did have to say though, this book was quite intriguing. It talked about cadavers and how we use them to test things we couldn’t normally do with people still alive, but really, that was just the first half of it. The second half was experiments with the still living, head transplants, how we know if we’re dead, cannibalism, etc. All of the things surrounding death, but not actually dealing with cadavers (for the most part).
I’ve had this book review sitting in the hopper for a while now to the point where I don’t have the book fresh in my mind anymore unfortunately :(. Suffice it to say I did enjoy it. The book was written in a friendly manner so it was easy to digest, even when talking about somewhat complicated medical ideas. Some small things I remembered from the book:
- Robert White is crazy. Transplanting heads of monkeys and having it work crazy.
- If you fall out of an airplane and hit water, your clothes are likely to be ripped off of your body by the impact and you’ll be close to naked. You’ll also likely die because at that speed water is nearly as hard as the ground.
- People have serious issues with using whole cadavers for projects (especially things like bullet testing), but for some reason getting parts of cadavers like the torso makes it easier (for both the people testing and for the higher ups stomaching the tests the scientists do).
- A lot of people have problems with cadaver’s hands. For some reason it seems to personify the cadaver.
- There are places where people decompose bodies in different ways to see what happens. They’re called body farms and are crazy. I’d like to go see one sometime.
- The transitional point from being alive to being dead is incredibly hard to pinpoint down. Until 1968 it was thought that if your heart was still beating you were alive. After that date, Harvard scientists said that if you were brain dead, that was the point of death. It didn’t become part of the government’s way of thinking until 1981.
- They’ve used cadavers to see if the Shroud of Turin is actually possible to get by crucifying someone with a cloth over their head
As for me, this book solidified my beliefs on death even more. Once you’re gone, you’re gone. There’s no way to come back and so what you do with my body (which is mine no longer), really doesn’t matter to me. I’d prefer that it goes to save people’s lives (if possible) and then go to science of some sort. If people can better the human race because of my dead body, I’m all for it.