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Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies 1st Edition
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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
More About the Author
The author of hundreds of scientific articles on emergency medicine and biomedical ethics, he has also authored numerous books. His most popular book, "Iserson's Getting Into a Residency: A Guide for Medical Students," is now in its revised, 8th edition. Another, "Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies?" was cited as one of the best reference books by the New York Public Libraries. His latest book, "Improvised Medicine: Providing Care in Extreme Environments," appeared in December 2012 (McGraw-Hill).
Dr. Iserson now limits his medical practice to global and disaster medicine. In the past few years, he has practiced or taught on all seven continents, including 6 months as Lead Physician for the US Antarctic Program, and work with NGOs in rural areas of Central and South America, Zambia, Bhutan, Ghana and South Sudan. He also runs the www.REEME.arizona.edu Project that freely distributes more than 700 Spanish-language PowerPoint presentations on Emergency Medicine.
Top Customer Reviews
Iserson divides his discussion into fourteen chapters; the shortest is about eleven pages (the introduction), while the longest is a massive 80+ pages (the average chapter length is about 50 pages). He adeptly covers all aspects of death, dying, grief, mourning, and post-mortem activities and concerns. He discusses practical matters, such as how to arrange a funeral, bodily transport across state lines, embalming, funerary rituals and etiquette, cremation, and advance directives. Iserson even includes a helpful, ten-page "Body-disposal Instructions and Discussion Guide," designed to help the living ease the inevitable burden their next of kin will face when they pass away.
However, "Death to Dust" is not simply a consumer guide. Although he does offer a wealth of practical information, he also launches into more esoteric and macabre discussions. Some chapters are certainly not for the faint of heart. If cannibalism, headhunting, corpse dismemberment, grave robbing, anatomical dissection, autopsies, or putrification give you the heebie-jeebies, read with caution! True to its encyclopedic nature, "Death to Dust" takes care to cover ALL aspects of death and dying - particularly the more unpleasant and morbid topics. Iserson approaches these subjects with a dry sense of humor. Although I thought that his witticisms spiced the book up and made his discussion more entertaining, some audiences might be taken aback by Iserson's (sometimes) light tone.
It's obvious that Iserson (or his editor!Read more ›
Rest assured, however, that Galen Press (named after the famed Greek physician Galen of Pergamum) and Dr. Iserson have far more profound purposes in mind with the updated edition of this encyclopaedic guide to mortification than inciting ghastly giggles among adolescent boys and presumably mature reviewers. What sets this magnificently researched and dutifully footnoted volume apart from your usual dry-as-dust medical text is its literary sensibility, first noticeable in fourteen artfully titled section heads. I'm Dead -- Now What? covers the definition of death and what usually happens soon afterward; Beauty in Death details the embalming and cosmetic processes of treating cadavers; Souls on Ice takes a detour into the chilly science of cryonics; and Say It Gently anthologizes some sayings, poetry, and epitaphs in honor of the dead. The writing is clear, friendly, and gently humorous throughout, as if the good doctor Iserson were your charming raconteur uncle who just happens to know everything about the dead, and can't wait to tell you. I don?t see how librarians, med students, and mystery and horror writers can live without this one. -- P.MILLER ...
Lets be honest, humans do a very serious job of ignoring death and all that it entails. We don't want to see the messy parts, just the gushy greeting card parts where we swear to "never forget," and "always love," the person who is dying. And we certainly do our best to minimize and deny our own mortality. For this reason I think that adults of ever nationality should re-acquaint ourselves with death. Our grandparents were much more familiar with death, dying and the practical aspects thereof(how long can you keep a corpse in the parlor before it really MUST be buried)than we are today. Death has become so 'clean' as to be almost a non-issue.
Having dealt with the death of my own Mom within the past year and half, I can truthfully say it is better to deal with the subject before, than it is during or after. (I first read the book 4yrs ago.)
The personal growth you'll do while reading this book will be of immeasurable value to you. The style in which the book is written keeps the subject from being a gory dramatization of death, and also keeps you from Gothic over sentimentality. There is no better PRACTICAL treatment of so personal an issue on the market. Thank you, Mr. Iverson!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this excellent; informative and fascinating book: "Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies?" by Kenneth V. Iserson, years ago. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Michel Michaeljohn
A great read. Answers a lot of questions people fear to ask.Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
Publication spot on for my study needs. Easy to adapt to Australian laws and processes once I had the US processes explained. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Robert W Ball
Awesome and interesting book. Great read for those questioning what else happens before, after and while we are I. The ground...Published 18 months ago by Sadie Defined
If you ever wanted to know what happens to you once you "move on," this book pretty much explains it all. Read morePublished on January 31, 2014 by Tim Randall
Answers some questions about dead bodies, but there are more than a million ways to die, right? I like this book for basic answers.Published on January 3, 2014 by blah
This book is full of shocking and intriguing vignettes. The author really did his homework. I also like how the book was structured. Read morePublished on December 4, 2013 by Darrin Clutteur
There are slips in the scholarship, but it is hard, and sobering, to read this collection of information about death and its biological and sociological context. Read morePublished on May 26, 2013 by agb