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Forensic Detective: How I Cracked the World's Toughest Cases
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Forensic Detective: How I Cracked the World's Toughest Cases

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  331 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Death. It’s not only inevitable and frightening, it’s intriguing and fascinating–especially today, when science continues to make ever more stunning advances in the investigation of the oldest and darkest of mysteries. To discover the how and why of death, unearth its roots, and expose the mechanics of its grim handiwork is, at least in some sense, to master it. And in the ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 28th 2006 by Ballantine Books (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,015)
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Michelle Ng
As a huge fan on CSI and Bones, I expected a lot from this book. The book is rather interesting but I find it places too much emphasis on the background story of the victims/deceased. It says a lot more background details about soldiers who died in wars. I'd prefer if the author gives us more details of the forensic processes instead. Could it be the author thought it might be too boring for the readers? I wouldn't know. But I couldn't help feeling a bit of disappointment when I finished reading ...more
Every chapter is about a different case that Dr. Mann helped work on. Surprisingly, more than half of them were about identifying the bodies of American soldiers around the world that were reported as Missing in Action (soldiers that fought in WWII, the Cold War and the Vietnam War). One chapter was even about how he helped identify a soldier that was buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington. So cool! It was cool to read about his journey through academics, too - he didn't get his ...more
"When the dead reveal some of their most sensational, macabre, and poignant tales, more often than not it’s Mann who’s been listening. Now, in this remarkable casebook, he offers an in-depth behind-the-scenes portrait of his sometimes gruesome, frequently dangerous, and always compelling profession."

Interesting cases and information however the narrative could have used a little help. The book gets very dry at the end.
Brenna Heagney
Interesting subject matter but the authors penchant for stating the obvious over and over and pondering/ philosophising in a very heavy handed way was torturous. It doesn't even compare to Jeff Benedicts 'No Bone Unturned' about forensic anthropologist Doug Oswley - a fascinating and beautifully drawn semi-biography. 1 star!
Aj Baker
This was a very interesting book on forensics. The author himself is a very interesting man, having been homeless for a while before going back to school to study forensic anthropology under Bill Bass.
Anne Marshall
A fantastic look at forensic anthropology. Interesting and informative without being dull.
I love forensic science, plus I had a whole day I had to kill at a hospital, so I read through most of this book then. This book is on forensic anthropology and not on any other sciences, which was disappointing. And despite the byline saying "How I Cracked...", many of the cases he mentioned were either not solved, or solved with combination of many other factors. It reads more like his diary as he looks back to his life, rather than a non-fiction on forensic anthropology. There is so much abou ...more
This book was an look into the work of a forensic detective through individual case studies. Although it started off interesting, the cases all became really similar after a while and I thought the book got rather boring/repetitive in nature (although I know his work is extremely important, esp to the families involved). I would have been interested to learn more about the author's personal journey--going from a directionless, trouble-prone teenager/young adult to being a leader in this complex ...more
Parts of this were completely fascinating, but others were dry and boring. Kind of a mixed bag. I did learn quite a few things, including that bone fragments from 2 different bones in the same body can be differentiated by texture, grain, and coloration.... stuff like that. Would have liked more photos, and since the author took this book partly into autobiographical territory, I'd have liked that "fleshed out" (pardon the pun) a bit more. The title is misleading, he works in groups, and it's a ...more
Well, I loved it. I read about 100 books a year, mostly from the library but I knew I had to add this one to my collection within the first ten pages. Easy to read, nice juicy details, good pictures (wish there were more), will recommend this one to my teenagers. Dr. Mann is down-to-earth (real) and didn't spend too much time on his own autobiography--just enough, I would say.
Debbie Jarrell
If you're into shows like CSI, you have to read this. I read this one in two days. It's broken into chapters about different cases where the identity of a person or persons was determined by their bones. Cases like Jeffrey Dahmer, some POW/MIA cases. Some info about the Body Farm. Very interesting and easy to read, with some pictures.
I skipped several chapters in this book. It did not have the detailed information I enjoyed from Death's Acre, nor the humor of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Cadavers. It did discuss some famous serial killers/disasters and the forensics used to catch them, but did not go into any kind of detail on techniques or changing science.
I really liked this book. The cases were in chronological order and I enjoyed reading about forensic anthropology and how Dr. Mann got to be where he is. I was a little disappointed that, although the title says "how I cracked the world's toughest cases", there were multiple cases that remain unsolved!
Madonna Analla
This is a book not to read when you are eating. But very interesting and fascinating to learn about everything you can find out by examining bones. His personal story is also very interesting and inspirational. I definately recommned this book to people who read true crime.
Pau Autajay
I read this when I was in grade 5 and usually a kid would get frighten with all the gory detail but the way it was written made it seem like I was reading a horror fairy tale which is not so bad. I re-read it when I was in 4th year high school and I was still drawn to it.
I love geeky science stuff.
Not as interesting as the much exaggerated title makes it to be. Plus, he (the author) didn't crack these cases all on his own. His writing style is boring and filled with cliches and leaves much to be desired. A chore to get thru--I don't recommend.
I just finished this book. It was fascinating. It's all true situations that the author participated in helping to solve. Who knew we could learn so much about a person just by looking at their bones? It's a lot like the show Bones.
Mann tells some of his cases, most notably the 9/11 Pentagon case and Army identification cases.

Some cases are enthralling, but it drags after a while and the author doesn't really connect what has happened between them.
Cheryl Jensen
Highly overstated title, overly wordy descriptions. Learning there are leeches who can stand on their tales and grab onto you as you pass by created a whole new phobia.
Apr 23, 2010 Sharon rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sharon by: Jennifer Fitzsimmons
The cover has "if you like CSI, you'll enjoy this book". They really should have "if you enjoy Bones, you'll enjoy this book". I found it facsinating!
Lisa Detlefsen
May 16, 2007 Lisa Detlefsen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fox's Bones fans
I read this book because unsolved crimes and crimes that involve identifing bones I find intersting. I liked this book a lot.
A intresting book, especially if your intrested in forensic anthropology. I realy liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. Makes me want to be a MedicoLegal Investigator.
Robin Yantz javinsky
If you like forensics and learning how one solves a death you will like this book.
Jan 31, 2009 A rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in crime science
He has a few cases that will keep your attention. This is a very good book.
Initially interesting, then somewhat repetitive in a self-aggrandizing manner.
Interesting read expecially for those interested in police work.
Read 5/2006
Very good read! Real life stuff....
Strengthened my interest in forensics.
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