“Professor Dame Sue Black is one of the worlds leading anatomists and forensic anthropologists” so goes the introduction – this book was a birthday gift from friends who know me well, and I think it was a dead cert (no pun intended) it would go down well.
Partly memoir and partly human interest, this is neither a text book, self help manual on death, or anatomical textbook – instead it’s a romp through issues as diverse as death in culture, anatomy training, anatomical variances between different ages and genders, anthropology in war zones and disaster situations, separating work from the rest of life if your work brings you into contact with trauma, and embalming techniques – other topics covered as well!
It won’t be a book for everyone, but it’s neither maudlin nor gory, and balances the matter of factness of someone used to a study of death with an understanding of the importance of ritual and reverence. The author pulls the book off well.
Some of you reading this will know I have had the privilege of spending time in dissection labs learning from silent teachers, and many times this book resonated with me, not in the least, “what happens in the lab stays in the lab” – that’s one area where study and learning can easily fall into bad taste and gore, and quite rightly the author backs away from this firmly and professionally.
Personally I found this a fascinating book from the perspective of being a student of anatomy and body sciences, and I sure many others in similar fields, or those curious about the body and related knowledge, would find it of interest as well. Especially recommended for Anatomy Geeks
It’s not an easy topic, indeed not an easy job, an the author writes about it well.
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