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Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies
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Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies

4.32  ·  Rating Details ·  179 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Consumer text covers how time of death is determined, autopsies, embalming, organ and tissue donation, cryonically preserving heads or bodies, shrinking human heads, identifying dismembered bodies, transporting corpses, cannibalism, using corpses in research, coffins, and much more. Previous edition: c1994.
Hardcover, 705 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by Galen Press (first published March 1st 1994)
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Thanatopsis: Death, Dying, and Mortality
46th out of 312 books — 179 voters
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Modern Science Nonfiction
85th out of 177 books — 133 voters

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Community Reviews

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Mar 24, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People with a morbid curiousity and a strong constitution.
Everything I have always wondered about, but figured I would be a social outcast if I asked.
Pat Dugan
Jan 28, 2009 Pat Dugan rated it it was amazing
Death - The 500 pound Gorilla in the room. People that are curious what happens to humans after death will want to read this book. We love to live by not facing the final page of our lives. This book is not for the faint hearted, people that think that enbalming will preserve the body forever, or people that are just naive about death. Everybody dies, rots, stinks and disolves.

"The womb shall forget you, the worms shall feed sweetly upon you and you shall no longer be remembered."
Job 24:20
Apr 24, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it
Everything you EVER wanted to know about death and then some. The only thing is that some of the questions were sort of redundant but overall, a great book that I finished within two days.
May 06, 2010 Arnpoe rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most interesting nonfiction books I own. It covers all sorts of aspects of death traditions and the funeral industry.
Oct 14, 2013 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
An Encyclopedic Overview of Death & Dying

Of the many books on death and dying that I've read over the past six months, Kenneth Iserson's "Death to Dust" is by far the most comprehensive and enjoyable of the bunch. Weighing in at over 800 pages, "Death to Dust" is truly an encyclopedic approach to the subject.

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 abou
Oct 07, 2011 Sarah-Anne rated it really liked it
Interesting read... I found it at the library. It was the jacket that caught my attention. Never before have I possessed such a morbid curiosity with death (pun intended). It's been very difficult to put down. It provides some very compelling arguments concerning anatomical dissection and organ donation. This book also discusses bizarre rites and rituals surrounding death among certain cultures and religions. No subject is taboo... both cannibalism and necrophilia are mentioned, as well as ...more
Aaron the Pink Donut
Oct 15, 2007 Aaron the Pink Donut rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference
This book really should have been called:” Death and dying: everything you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask”. In very clear and simple language this book fills you in on just about every aspect of death you could ever want to know. From the legalities to burial at sea to the actual physics of decomposition and everything else in between, this book really has it all. A must have!
Patti McDermott
Mar 07, 2010 Patti McDermott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up in the medical bookstore for the university hopsital where I work. With an interest in anthropology as well, it was one of the best books I have ever read. A topic we must all deal with in our lives and few have the inclination to learn much about.
Jul 22, 2012 Loraine rated it it was amazing
From reading this, I now know just about everything about death... and a little I didn't really want to know.
Feb 13, 2014 Sascha rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most incredibly complete books on death and the disposition of human bodies I have ever read. It is incredibly readable, filled with more information than I thought I was even interested in, and answered questions I didn't even know I had. The author masterfully blends current practices with historical information showing our journey through time with death. The only thing I'll say I read the first edition so it is definitely is a bit out of date. This book is so good I'm ...more
Jul 07, 2007 Bonnie rated it liked it
Everything you would ever want to know - and much that you don't - about the processes and systems surrounding dead bodies and death. How a body decays, morgues, death certificates, the criteria for declaring a person dead, the high costs of burial, burial customs around the world, etc. etc. Part of my background reading for the "death" class I'm teaching in the fall semester.
May 09, 2008 Tiffany rated it liked it
I don't remember much about this one. I remember thinking it's ok. I have it if you REALLY want to read it.
Mar 22, 2013 Todd rated it it was amazing
Glenn and I red this book several years ago and we still talk about it. This is a fascinating book.
Caoilinn Hayden
Apr 17, 2015 Caoilinn Hayden rated it it was amazing
I mean very detailed answering of any question you may have. embalming, organ procurement, autopsy you name it!
Everett Marx
Oct 12, 2008 Everett Marx rated it really liked it
I'm learning "everything I wanted to know about what happens to dead bodies." It's research for a novel. A highly informative, well-organized book.
Anik Samiur Rahman
Anik Samiur Rahman rated it it was amazing
Nov 14, 2012
Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Jun 27, 2016
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Jun 23, 2012
Sue rated it it was amazing
Oct 29, 2013
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May 12, 2012
Carrie rated it it was ok
Apr 12, 2015
Cheryl Green
Cheryl Green rated it it was amazing
Nov 19, 2013
Stephen rated it it was amazing
Jun 19, 2008
Danielle Wyant
Danielle Wyant rated it it was amazing
Aug 26, 2007
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Mar 28, 2011
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