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Corpse: Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death Hardcover – 2001

4.7 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 270 pages
  • Publisher: MJF Books; First Edition edition (2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1567317022
  • ISBN-13: 978-1567317022
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,284,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Learning the time of death is crucial in many cases of unnatural death, yet it's still not an exact science. Jessica Snyder Sachs handles the grisly topic with confidence and a conversational tone. The book takes you through the history of determining time of death and then details the recent and current science of it without once slipping into dry academic style or overwrought drama. She uses many anecdotes that bring the topic to life (if you will excuse the expression), and her word sketches of the scientists involved shows the human side of science. Sachs is an accomplished science writer, and it shows. The book is fascinating, not for the faint of stomach but not deliberately grisly either. It's an excellent, readable work, one you'll find hard to put down.

I met Ms. Sachs last year, and interviewed her for a review of the book on another website. We sat in her back yard, talking about death and writing. She is gracious and knowledgeable in person, and her personable manner comes through in the book. As someone who has studied criminal justice in various forms for over 20 years, I highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
I am a certifiable forensic "nut". This book is masterful, engrossing and "habit-forming" (many late nights for me attest to this!). Her writing is eloquent, clear and entertaining. Congratulations to you Ms. Sachs. You have won over a very choosy soul when it comes to forensic "entertainment". I have read the rest and now, one of the very best! At first I did not think it would appeal to me (a Christmas present from sisters who think my maudlin fascination with forensics is "icky") but I can't put it down and don't want it to end. I never knew time of death could be so engrossing and "cross-over" into so many interest facets of forensics that appeal to me.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Corpse is grisly, graphic reading. As one reader remarked, it is certainly not for the squeamish, as Sachs describes week by week what happens to our bodies as we gradually decompose. The book is much more than a mere cataloguing of which insects devour us in which order, though. At the root of the book is the important question of determing time since death - critical in the correct prosection of murder crimes.

I found the details fascinating of how forensic scientists (entomologists, anthropologists and even microbiologists) are learning more about the decompostion, dessication and eventual disintegration of human bodies. I was similarly riveted to the numerous stories of how the science was evolving and gradually coming into use in the courtroom.
The book is certainly not for everyone, and be prepared for the odd sideways glances from those who see you reading it. But it is a guilty pleasure (pardon the pun) for those who have the guts (sorry, had to do it) to read it through. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I couldn't put this book down. It is a must read for anyone interested in science, death, anatomy, or just the bizarre aspects of decomposition! Really interesting stuff in here and the writer is at turns witty, serious, and altogether a prolific story-teller. A definite favorite in my own collection of books to read and re-read. GREAT!
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Format: Paperback
reading Corpse was a joy. having read books by nearly all of the scientists she discussed, i felt privy to a fascinating universe of emerging death science. for those with a genuine interest in death examination, i definately reccommend reading books such as bill bass's Death's Acre and m. lee goff's A Fly For the Prosecution to supplement your knowledge. for other who would much rather read a simple overview, Corpse will do just fine. well written and not sensationalist, Corpse is a great introduction to forensic ecology.
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Format: Paperback
If you want to know the latest in the field of forensic sciences, this is your book. Sachs follows the roving eye of those scientists who, most seemingly accidentally, get roped into murder investigations where time of death determines everything: from the indentity of the victim to that of the killer. The liquid in the eyeball, bones, fatty acids, maggots, weeds, germs and pigs all come in to play. More entertaining than CSI and Kay Scarpetta put together.
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Format: Paperback
Not for those with weak stomachs, but great for those with any interest in death investigations. Pin pointing time since death has always been a thorn in the side of many a prosecuter. This book gives a very nice detailed history of how we started trying to determine T.O.D to where we are now. I recommend this book to anyone in the field of forensic science or with a interest in criminal justice and death investigation.
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A seriously good read for those interested in the subject matter. Had I of known the whole midsection of the book would focus on the life cycle of flies and maggots in extreme detail then I may not have decided to read it - but I'm pleased I didn't put too much thought into it beforehand (although it should have been obvious that it would play a major part in a book like this!). It's extremely well written and highly detailed, but not a difficult or dry read at all. The history of forensic development and how advanced it was at certain points in time puts highlighted crimes and Bill Bass's work (the most detailed account I had read up to this point in time) into perspective. Whilst there are a few gory bits, a person who has read a lot of crime before would not be bothered.
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