Get out your credit card and get some...

Science Books

May 18, 2006

Body Brokers: Inside America's Underground Trade in Human Remains
Annie Cheney (2006)
ISBN: 0767917332

Body Brokers is the product of an unsettling and candid investigation by respected journalist Annie Cheney into the systems that handle our loved ones after death. It's a gripping and confrontational book that gives new meaning to the phrase "life after death." Body Brokers first began as an article for Harpers magazine, drawing so much morbid fascination and controversy that it won the prestigious 2005 Deadline Club Award. The book relates how human corpses destined for anatomy classes, burial or cremation; somehow wind-up becoming a commodity to be carved up and sold by unscrupulous entrepreneurs. Sure, there are the government organ and tissue transplant programs, but the transactions in body parts conducted by a network of shady "body brokers" go beyond the pale. What's most frightening is the prevalence of the problem, most likely due, we are told, to the fact that one cadaver can fetch up to US$10,000. "That torso that you're living in right now is just flesh and bones. To me, it's a product," one body broker told Cheney. From funeral directors to crematorium owners, Cheney shows how the combination of no federal regulation and a high price for a corpse is just too much of an opportunity for many in the industry to pass up. Where do the bodies end up? Well, there are many commercial medical seminars continually head-hunting ambitious cadavers. Then there's the military that are always in need of a corpse or two; so that they can make sure all of their explosive thingies are working with maximum efficiency. And you thought you couldn't be drafted after death! It's a grisly and damning indictment, but a compelling page-turner that's hard to put down.

Windswept: The Story of Wind and Weather
Marq de Villiers (2006)
ISBN: 0802714692

Poets and writers from all periods in human history have had plenty to say about wind, but what often goes unsaid is how wind plays a significant role in our survival on this planet. This might be hard for some to swallow post hurricane Katrina, but destructive as it can often be, wind regulates temperature, shields us from powerful solar radiation, sculpts terrain and carries ocean waters to land. From ancient and mythological descriptions of wind to the most sophisticated weather programs, Marq de Villiers, author of numerous books on exploration, history, politics, and travel, presents an exhilarating account of humanity's relationship with wind throughout the ages. De Villiers discusses 18th-century scientists developing the first convincing theories on wind and weather, the discovery of jet streams during WWII, and the options now available for harnessing the wind's immense energies. In addition, de Villiers peppers Windswept with his own personal experiences of powerful storms. He describes in detail the dramatic scenes accompanying hurricane Ivan, which he tracked from its early rumblings in the Sahara to its transformation into a Category 5 hurricane that hit Nova Scotia, de Villiers home. During its travels, Ivan reached Category 5 no less than 3 times, a record that still stands today.

[Back to the Main Books Page]

Top of page     Home page     Forums     About

The terms and conditions governing your use of this website.

© 1997 - 2016 McMurdo Media Pty Ltd and its licensors. All rights reserved.