Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dissecting Death: Secrets of a Medical Examiner” as Want to Read:
Dissecting Death: Secrets of a Medical Examiner
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Dissecting Death: Secrets of a Medical Examiner

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  176 ratings  ·  22 reviews
From TV’s CSI to bestsellers by Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs, interest in forensics is at an all-time high. Now one of our most respected forensic pathologists gives a behind-the-scenes look at eleven of his most notorious cases, cracked by scientific analysis and Sherlock Holmesian deduction.

As chief medical examiner of Rockland County, New York, for almost thirty-f
ebook, 256 pages
Published July 12th 2005 by Broadway Books (first published 2005)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dissecting Death, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dissecting Death

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 363)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This book was a hit and miss for me. There were certain passages that kind of made me choke, like so:

"In compensation for this crown of thorns, all authority at the site also belongs to me, the medical examiner. Under this banner of dominion, I must reign with the right of kings, giving irreversible orders, making all decisions as to when and how the body should be handled, and cracking the whip with just enough snap to make certain that every worker and every agency operates at maximum effectiv
Originially, I read this book for a Dying and Death course I took in college; I couldn't put it down. Dr. Zugibe presents ten cases and explains the way medical examiners apply scientific methods to identify the body, cause of death, and the person responsible for the death. It contains a lot of factual information that students and those interested in the field can learn from.
Mandy Huot
I really enjoyed this book! It made me want to research some of the cases myself on my own time and learn more about them (like the little girl, Joan's, case) There was just the right balance of technical terms and laymen's terms to make this book able to read without being too lofty.
If I was younger this is the path I would have chosen to be a Medical Examiner so reading this book was so awesome for me. I love it.
Cassie luellman
This is a very interesting book and I would recommend it to anyone interested in true crime. The only downside was all the technical explanations because I already knew much of the information given. I understand why the authors included it, but having been interested in true crime for so long it was very repetitive information. Since this book was based on cases from the around the eighties I was able to find out lots of things that I didn't already know about what was going on in the world at ...more
This book coins itself as secrets of a medical examiner. If you like CSI (and you can read) you'll probably really like this book. It's not flashy with lots of weird angles like CSI but it's well written and plain spoken about the life of a medical examiner.

Looking up the good doctor, I see he is very well known for his research on crucifixion. That explains why the last section of the book explains why Mel Gibson's Passion of Christ (or whatever) was medically incorrect.

Zugibe goes over 10 case
This book consists of case studies of several different deaths that one of the country's top medical examiners has worked on. It was amazingly detailed in it's explanations about all different aspects of crime scene investigations. The medical science nerd in me thought it was intriguing and beautiful. BUT the problem with it is that he weaves in his opinions about each of the examples, and I was sooo surprised to find that one of the cases he worked on was the famous brink's robbery involving t ...more
Well-written and entirely without sensationalism. Zugibe talks about cases he's worked on as the medical examiner of a suburb of New York, complete with its very own mob dump site. The forensics therein won't break much new ground for viewers of television programs or readers who are already knowledgable on this topic, but it's a solid read. None of the profiled cases were familiar to me (which is unusual as a devoted consumer of the aforementioned shows and books), as opposed to many pop-forens ...more
Great book. Very informative. I had never heard of this ME before. Usually you just hear about Michael Baden when referring to New York,, but apparently, he's famous up there too. I really liked the last chapter, especially where he analyzes Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ and how the injuries and intense beatings the movie portrayed would have caused several medical issues that he did not seem to suffer as well as the impossibility of him being able to "carry on" after some of the ...more
An interesting discussion of several case studies by Rockland County's chief ME. The writing can get a little dry at times but the cases are all interesting and there is enough levity and dark humour sprinkled throughout the book to keep the subject matter from becoming too oppressive.

It lays out a lot of the fundamentals of forensic pathology and crime scene investigation for the layman and shows how many seemingly unsolvable cases were eventually put to rest after much hard work and brilliant
Marie Villanueva
This is a really good book that gives you an insight on forensic science, the history and how it works in different ways in solving homicides. Actually gives several cases and the techniques used to solve these murders. Careful, could be offensive to those not used to seeing death or understanding of the natural way our bodies break down once the heart stops beating.
Della Scott
I registered a book at!

This will probably be wild-released today. The review is at bookcrossing. I am more likely to review books on bookcrossing than any of my other literary sites.
Beverly Miller
Takes you through what a medical examiner experiences and does while sharing real cases that grip until the final verdict. This book is very educational as Zugibe informs of how procedures (such as autopsys) are performed and about crime scenes. A great book for anyone who loves forensics.
I am endlessly interested in this subject matter. I found this book to be an interesting and quick read with information about cases I have never heard of. I enjoyed that Dr. Zugibe does get a little technical and explains certain things (like decomposition) for the lay person.
Steven Andersen
It was a good book overall. Boring at most parts but I have to say I liked it. When I got bored I had to read because normally I was at a good part in the book. I would recomend this book to people who like things to do with crime, forensics and anything like that.
Oct 01, 2007 Christie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: wierdos like me
Hmm..I liked the info in this book, some of the cases were more interesting than others. I don't really get into the ballistic info on gunshot wounds. I like reading about the human insight into working in forensics and this was very clinical. But still a good read.
A fascinating book! Becoming a court reporter is work that will expose me to these types of stories and how the crimes are solved. Dr. Zugibe's abilty to tell about his work, a world we aren't exposed to much, is one that anyone would benefit from.
Fascinating for the forensics and worth the whole book to read about the mistakes made in the OJ and JonBenet cases.
Actual pictures of the dead and decomposing in the glossy middle section? This guy's the REAL DEAL.
Don't look at the pictures if your opposed to corpses. Or at work. Like I did. Unknowingly.
This book is full of forensic tidbits (more than most books I have found). I loved it.
Great book, I loved it.
Lorry Perez
Lorry Perez marked it as to-read
Jan 20, 2015
Jessica marked it as to-read
Jan 19, 2015
Beth marked it as to-read
Jan 19, 2015
Diana marked it as to-read
Jan 18, 2015
Bargle marked it as to-read
Jan 17, 2015
Cheryl marked it as to-read
Jan 13, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 13 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Coroner's Journal: Stalking Death in Louisiana
  • Postmortem: How Medical Examiners Explain Suspicious Deaths
  • Cause of Death: Forensic Files of a Medical Examiner
  • Dead Center: Behind the Scenes at the World's Largest Medical Examiner's Office
  • Unnatural Death: Confessions of a Medical Examiner
  • Blood On The Table: The Greatest Cases of New York City's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
  • Never Suck A Dead Man's Hand: And Other Life (and Death) Lessons from the Front Lines of Forensics
  • Aftermath, Inc.: Cleaning Up After CSI Goes Home
  • Cracking Cases: The Science of Solving Crimes
  • What the Corpse Revealed
  • Bones: A Forensic Detective's Casebook
  • The Forensic Casebook: The Science of Crime Scene Investigation
  • Mop Men: Inside the World of Crime Scene Cleaners
  • Hidden Evidence: 40 True Crimes and How Forensic Science Helped Solve Them
  • Bodies We've Buried: Inside the National Forensic Academy, the World's Top CSI Training School
  • No Bone Unturned: The Adventures of a Top Smithsonian Forensic Scientist and the Legal Battle for America's Oldest Skeletons
  • Maggots, Murder, and Men: Memories and Reflections of a Forensic Entomologist
  • Teasing Secrets from the Dead: My Investigations at America's Most Infamous Crime Scenes

Share This Book