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Body Brokers: Inside America's Underground Trade in Human Remains

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  220 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
“You are a little soul carrying around a corpse.” —Epictetus
“Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will follow.” —Matthew 24:28

Body Brokers is an audacious, disturbing, and compellingly written investigative exposé of the lucrative business of procuring, buying, and selling human cadavers and body parts.

Every year human corpses meant for anatomy classes, burial, or
...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 7th 2006 by Broadway (first published 2006)
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♥ Sandi
Apr 21, 2012 ♥ Sandi rated it really liked it
This book reminds me a lot of The Immoral Life of Henrietta Lacks - which I loved. It takes the disgusting process of brokering human body parts and weaves a really good non-fiction story. It reveals how this business has prospered from the grave robbers of the 1800's right up to the current problems as late as 2006. This book will make you look twice at the funeral, creamation, death process. Beware! 4 stars
Dan Smith
Nov 13, 2008 Dan Smith rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who is not terribly squeamish
I read the article in Harper's Bazaar that resulted in this book- I have to say that I found the article more compelling and it seemed as is the author was stretching the story pretty thin- It's an expose on the little-known trade of human body parts in the USA that are used to market medical devices and techniques through training seminars. As the product of a medical family (and once very accustomed to opening the fridge to see if there was anything good to eat but being confronted by some dec ...more
Alane
Jul 02, 2008 Alane rated it liked it
Shelves: death-and-dying
A dangerous read if you were planning on being cremated, autopsied, or donating your body to science.
Jodi
Mar 08, 2009 Jodi rated it it was amazing
This book was incredible, but I'm too tired to write a decent review so will plan on doing that tomorrow. All I have to say now is it is fascinating, gruesome, disheartening, and a "must read".
Rebecca
Mar 04, 2008 Rebecca rated it really liked it
This book is like a horrible car crash you can't turn away from despite the carnage. The subject matter was disturbing yet I read this cover to cover, only putting it down to sleep.
Katy Jane
Nov 06, 2016 Katy Jane rated it really liked it
1. My overall takeaway: Yes, there needs to be more regulations for corpses. Especially stories like Michael Brown and everyone who gets the bodies without family consent. But, if families donate the bodies to science and the bodies go to science no matter how they get there, who cares? You are dead. Your body would otherwise be rotting in the ground becoming food for bugs and worms. If you can help doctors with their trade and that same doctor saves the life of a loved one of the body they are ...more
Sevenponds
May 20, 2014 Sevenponds rated it really liked it
It’s hard to imagine subject matter more cringe-worthy than the for-profit tissue and body business. Perhaps this explains the relative obscurity of Annie Cheney’s Body Brokers: Inside America’s Underground Trade in Human Remains, a muckraking exposé on this for-profit, shockingly lucrative industry. Upon the book’s release, publications around the country gave it generally favorable reviews, and predicted that it should blow the lid off of this subject. But it never happened. Body Brokers is a ...more
Grant Trevarthen
Dec 22, 2011 Grant Trevarthen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every family, at one time or another goes through the process of losing a loved one, along with the grieving process, you would hope that your loved one would be treated with respect and dignity....not so.
In the U.S at least, there is a thriving industry for body parts and whole corpses or cadavers.
In her book 'Body Brokers', Investigative journalist Annie Cheney, exposes the inhuman practices of stealing parts of bodies and selling them to brokers who in turn sell them for the purposes of sur
...more
Rufussenex
Aug 13, 2008 Rufussenex rated it it was amazing
Cheney's account of brokers stealing morgue cadavers slated for cremation and cutting them up for sale like so many pieces of meat makes a lie of the whole facade of benevolent, scientific, medical altruism in America.

We, in short, have reached the inevitable conclusion of Capitalism envisioned by Debord; a world where everybody, in the end, has been turned into a commodity, to be bought, packaged, and sold. The opening scene of a seminar in the banquet room of a swanky resort hotel in Florida
...more
Cabot
Nov 16, 2016 Cabot rated it really liked it
The book "Body Brokers" By Annie Cheney is an amazing book if your looking for gruesome descriptions of the process of brokering human body parts that some how turns into a good entertaining non-fiction book. Its a pretty dangerous read if your planning on being cremated, autopsied, or donating your body for science purposes. The book talks about how America is thriving industry for body parts. Over all this book is a "must read" and makes look twice at funeral, cremation and the whole death pro ...more
Amber
Apr 17, 2016 Amber rated it liked it
Shelves: other
This was in interesting read and one of the few books out there on this subject. It did give some intriguing glimpse into the world but it feels like it just grazes the surface of the subject. It doesn't have alot of detailed information and focuses on the sensationalized cases without going in depth about the trade itself beyond the flagrant abuses. The other thing that bothered me is for a non-fiction book it at times read like a fiction book. Detailed descriptions of people as if they are a c ...more
Allyson
May 01, 2007 Allyson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This books gives an amazing inside perspective on donating your body to science. It gives some great information on the underground trade in human remains (even if you don't intend to donate your body). It tells you how hospitals, morgues, and mortuaries get involved in the black market of body parts.

Definately a great read if you have considered donating your body. As for me, I want to be cremated so I can avoid these weird things- plus, I don't really want to be embalmed.
Bethany
Jan 11, 2012 Bethany rated it it was amazing
This book will really give you the creeps. It is scary to think of what can be going on right under your nose. I know that it doesn't happen everywhere, and Cheney makes it quite clear that not all Funeral Homes, Universities, Hospitals and other institutions don't treat the deceased like this, but just knowing that some are willing to sell your loved ones is scary.
g-na
Feb 11, 2012 g-na rated it liked it
Shelves: biology-medicine
An exposé on the not-so-legal market of bodies and body parts. It turns out there are people selling arms and legs, well, for an arm and a leg, all without the consent of the former owners. However, it'd be a pity if this book stopped people from donating their bodies and/or organs, as there are never enough to meet the demand.
Amanda Sailors
May 24, 2014 Amanda Sailors rated it really liked it
In Body Brokers, Annie Cheney exposes the shadowy world of tissue procurement organizations and the various different people that work within the industry. I really enjoyed this book; it was interesting, well written, and Cheney provides a logical and well structured argument. A must read for anyone planning on donating their body to science.
Emma Corrigan
Dec 06, 2015 Emma Corrigan rated it really liked it
When speaking of grave robbers people often think of times of patrolling constables and brick streets, but Body Brokers gives a bone chilling into the modern day practice of harvesting and selling body parts. What happens after you die and what you THINK happens after you die may be two different things.
Kristi
Sep 08, 2007 Kristi rated it it was amazing
This work of non-fiction is a quick read, but intensely gruesome and horrifying. It will make you look at human death and what happens to bodies afterwards in a whole new light. I found myself having to take breaks for a few deep breaths. It would make one heck of a horror film, and all the more horrible because it's true.
Judy
May 30, 2008 Judy rated it really liked it
sounds gross but a really interesting look into what could really happen to your body after you die... i've been trying to ask my doctor friends if they ever encountered this dark side of the cadaver trade but no one's confirmed any of this yet for me...
Caitlin
Jun 21, 2011 Caitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beginning with the clever little quote "you are a little soul carrying around a corpse, this was an intriguing, eye-opening, stomach-turning book for me. The Fed-Ex truck may be carrying body parts down the highway... Who knew? Definitely glad I plucked it from the library shelf.
Heather
Sep 12, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it
It was a very fast and interesting read. I learned and few things and I now know I will not be donating my body to science since the schools just cut you up and sell you for $50,000 or more. It is horrible that the money form the sales of your body parts does not go to the family you left behind.
DJ
Apr 21, 2009 DJ rated it really liked it
I really had no clue there were groups that trafficked in body parts and human remains, so this was quite the eye-opener. Today, when orga and tissues transplants are becoming commonplace, this book presents some information worth keeping in mind. Where did they find that new part REALLY?
Tyrannosaurus regina
I have a morbid fascination with this subject in general (though more with old school body snatching than modern incarnations), but this didn't really dig much further than what I already knew. All the same, it was more chilling that I'd been expecting, maybe because it hit closer to home.
Rochelley
Mar 31, 2008 Rochelley rated it really liked it
Recommended to Rochelley by: Melissa Clark
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is very disturbing- yet I couldn't put it down. Really made me think and opened up my eyes.
Robin Holloway
disturbing! non-fiction book about people and companies that "broker" corpses, often against people's wishes.
Anne Hayes
Mar 18, 2015 Anne Hayes rated it liked it
Gruesome. Fascinating.
Kelly Lorenz
Jun 03, 2014 Kelly Lorenz rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014, non-fiction
Very well written book.
This was absolutely shocking and has been haunting me ever since I picked it up for the first time.
People are so messed up.
Nicole
Feb 08, 2011 Nicole rated it really liked it
Very interesting. If you are intrigued by this sort of thing, you should definitely check the book out. It's actually on my list to read again at some point, just as a refresher.
Eiríkr
Aug 19, 2012 Eiríkr rated it liked it
kind of similiar to 'stiff' by mary roach, but does offer some new insightsights making it still palpable if 'stff' is read first
Prattle On, Boyo
May 17, 2013 Prattle On, Boyo rated it it was amazing
The selling of human remains is a very brisk, very lucrative business.
Tammy Due
Oct 02, 2009 Tammy Due rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those interested in organ donation.
I never knew that bodies that are donated to science can be used to test military advances. Interesting!
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