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Autopsy: Life In The Trenches With A Forensic Pathologist In Africa

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  185 ratings  ·  73 reviews
As a medical detective of the modern world, forensic pathologist Ryan Blumenthal’s chief goal is to bring perpetrators to justice. He has performed thousands of autopsies, which have helped bring numerous criminals to book. In Autopsy he covers the hard lessons learnt as a rookie pathologist, as well as some of the most unusual cases he’s encountered.
During his career, for
...more
Audible Audio, Unabridged
Published August 12th 2020 by Audible Studios (first published August 3rd 2020)
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Petra-X would like a non-smear lippy for my mask
Update The weirdness got even weirder. How to make blood shoot out of your eyes. The five smelliest things in the world. But then he got preachy and it was the ten things we should all do to have good, fulfilled lives. You live yours and I'll live mine. I don't necessarily want a good one anyway, I want an interesting, dramatic one even if that means suffering (view spoiler) and tribulation in between adventures! Review to come. Also details on how to shoot blood out of y ...more
Valerity (Val)
I often find these kinds of books fascinating, where people who do autopsies share some of their more strange or famous cases. I can think of at least 2 TV shows about a similar subject, one where the lead was a male, and one where the lead was a female. I was a fan of both shows. Being curious about death is pretty natural, I believe. This book, by Ryan Blumenthal discusses cases in Africa, which makes it unique from the start. There are a certain number of people killed by large wildlife, inse ...more
Ruthy lavin
Highly informative and very interesting although it was a little repetitive at times.
It had scope to be much longer and much better!
But it is a must-read for anyone with an interest in science/pathology.
Michael Alves
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found myself turning to ‘Autopsy’ while struggling to finish another book. I could not put this book down and raced through it in no time! Many of the stories made you feel like you were in the autopsy room with Ryan. Would highly recommend - to those in the medical field and to those who are not.
Simoné Eloff
Nov 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-read
ARC received via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
(And I have an actual copy that I got as a gift from my dad, which worked out quite well)

This is non-fiction, so it's absolutely out of my wheelhouse. So why read it? I gravitated towards this book for two simple yet connected reasons: I am a South African myself, and I actually wanted to become a forensic pathologist too (it was one of a small handful of vocational options I had been considering in high school). Needless to say, I woul
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John Alshukri
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Insightful book.

Ryan gives a clear picture of what it's mean to be Forensic Pathologist. These insights are clearly based on Ryan long experience while working as a GP and forensic pathologist. He It's interesting field of science. I like the way it helps saving the living, by good understanding of the died. There are many points that I liked and made me stop and think deeply. These including;
1. What is death?
One of man's greatest and most exciting experiences. Death in the process of dying is c
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Chante Jacobs
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s not often that I am interested in reading non-fiction (I am a fiction girl all the way) but when I read the synopsis of Autopsy I was very much interested. I love watching true crime shows and so the Autopsy aspect has always been very interesting to me.
To be honest it was a very strange book, but I am glad I read it - and was captivated some of the details, the weird and easy ways we can die, the smells of illness and death.
At times clinical, at times philosophical and yet an overall com
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Wilhelm Henning
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it!

As as doctor (and a student of Ryan Blumenthal; he gave us several lectures during undergraduate training) I really enjoyed reading about his outlook on forensic pathology.
Would recommend to any healthcare worker to read about what happens to the ones that don’t make it to hospital.
Hayley
There was so much right and so much wrong with this book.

Blumenthal is passionate about his line of work and, like him, I agree that the general public should be more aware of the landscape in which we live and the things that go into investigations of death. I picked up this book because I wanted to know all this and more, especially in the African context. In this regard, "Autopsy" did not disappoint.

However, I took issue with a fair amount within the book (mostly because I am an editor mysel
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Anne Taylor
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a strange, strange book. I am glad I read it - and was fascinated by much of the detail: the many strange and easy ways we can die; the smells of illness and death; 70kg of maggots ... and a tin of ZamBuk the most common item be found in many dead South Africans’ pockets! I think Blumenthal communicates well that being a forensic pathologist is a real calling (shocked to discover there are only around 56 in South Africa). And that life is, after all, to be lived. It’s quite unevenly written ...more
Jan Gert Nel
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be a very accessibly written work on a gory and fascinating subject. The author remains detached, caring and clinical. I would recommend this book.
Darian Hailes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Catherine
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably, no definitely, my favorite read of this year👆 just wow. ⁣

📖Even though they cannot speak, the dead have a lot to say. ⁣

Having lost my mom just under a month ago I found this book to bring some closure and a boat load of empathy towards the living. Well written and I felt like I wanted to mark this book with the quotes and lessons I took away while reading it in less than 24 hours.⁣
Lean Swanepoel
Here below recalls my message I sent to my friend who lent me the book:
“I just finished.
I cried.
I loved it.”

I have never read a book of this calibre before, truly!
The writing was like an ocean in high tide; fluid and kept pulling me back.

It’s so rare to find fact on South Africa, and this truly is a gem for our medical community!
Clemy-chan
Dec 01, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnfs, non-fiction
DNFed at 50%

There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to what the author was trying to convey. He just jumped from topic to topic, anecdote to anecdote which was not the least interesting to me.
Simmi
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Window into the World of a Forensic Pathologist

At times clinical, at times philosophical and yet an overall compelling, eye-opening and entertaining read about a man and his passion to make the world a better place through seeking justice for victims on his autopsy table.
Tightly packed with cases that give perspective on death in a way that reflects back to how precious life is...
The reader gets insight into the professional life of a Forensic pathologist through his own senses.
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
“These stories were gleaned from the trenches, amidst the blood and the guts of it all. I offer stories from my life and my ‘case book’.

I’ve read a number of memoirs written by forensic pathologists/coroners/medical examiners and the like who practice in the UK, USA and Australia, and I was curious as to how the experience might differ in a country like Africa. Ryan Blumenthal has been a forensic pathologist, working primarily in South Africa, for over twenty years. There are approximately 70,0
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thereadingowlvina (Elvina Ulrich)
"Regardless of colour, race, sex or the shape of the nose, everyone has the same red blood at autopsy, and tears that are shed for a lost loved one are equally salty." - Dr. Lester Adelson

What It's About: As the title suggests, this book talks about what it's like to be a forensic pathologist in Africa. Practising forensic pathology in a resource-depleted or resource-limited environment, there are many different challenges a forensic pathologist faces and that's including many bizarre ca
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Am Y
Apr 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book in 2 days - it was hard to put down. It contains lots of interesting snippets of life as a forensic pathologist in South Africa, where the number of unnatural deaths stands significantly higher than in most other countries in the world. The author talks about the many ways people die there: from wild animal killings to gang murders to vigilante mob slayings to what have you.

Some of the more memorable cases that stood out for me were: 1) the poor guy who died of rabies from
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Dominique Fredericks
I must admit that I am always excited to read books about forensic pathology. Autopsy was and still is quite a hyped up book and for good reason! The fact that it is written by a local author is an added bonus!
A little bit of background, the author is a senior forensic pathologist working at a well known South African university. He has been working as a forensic pathologist for many years and therefore has so much experience and amazing advice that he shares with us in this book. We learn about
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Nicola
Feb 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, non-fiction
I can normally tell if I’m going to like a book within the first few pages, and by the time I’d read the introduction, I definitely knew this one one of those books that wouldn’t have to win me over. I enjoyed it from the get go and I love the authors writing style which made it for very easy and entertaining reading.

With books like these, there’s always a bit of danger of them being slightly morose, morbid and macabre but Autopsy carries this off very well. I won’t lie and say it’s a unicorns
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CosyReads
Feb 24, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
2.5 stars⭐
I'd like to start off by saying, I do not see eye to eye with this author.

I am not a smoker. I do not consume alcohol, I eat healthy, I exercise and I take care of my body. I would therefore probably fit the bill of a "real victim" - according to Dr. Blumenthal.

The elderly gentleman who happens to be a smoker however, does not fit the bill. Saving his life from an asthma attack is, and I quote, "a waste of time."

The author goes on to openly state that he ventured into medicine to
...more
Brenda
Mar 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Talk about compelling! Though the topic is not an easy one (these are real people and families), the book was difficult for me to put down as the anecdotes and science are remarkably fascinating. The author, a forensics pathologist from South Africa, explains the duties of forensics pathologists, what they do for society (such as justice, solving cases, bringing closure) and what they contend with there (climate and wild animals, for example). Psychological impacts on families and pathologists t ...more
Rubiareads
Apr 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started college just a few years after both the Rwandan Civil War and the Bosnian Civil War. I took several courses in history and international relations that discussed the genocide in both places. That period in history has stuck with me and a result, I've read several books related to forensic pathology and forensic anthropology. When the opportunity to read and review Autopsy by Ryan Blumenthal came around, I jumped at it. 

Ryan Blumenthal is a forensic pathologist in South Africa. Forensic
...more
Anschen Conradie
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#autopsy - Ryan Blumenthal
#jonathanball

Background: I bought this book because I have been specializing in inquests (legal enquiries into unnatural deaths) for the past 2 decades. This book - almost autobiographical in nature - by a forensic pathologist, therefore caught my attention.

The author is one of only a few qualified forensic pathologists in the country. His job: to investigate the human body, deprived of life by unnatural causes, as a crime scene - and to determine the identity of the de
...more
Helen Frost
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book seemed right up my street so I really looked forward to reading it and I wasn’t disappointed. I have had an interest in forensics and pathology and indeed have a degree in Applied Science with Forensic Measurement and have done some post grad study in forensic archaeology and anthropology. The book is pitched at a really good level so I would say suitable for anyone with an interest in the subject, the narrative is conversational yet informative and further explanation and background g ...more
Kris
Apr 10, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“We close the eyes of the dead, but the dead open the eyes of the living.”

Damn, there are a lot of really crazy ways that you can die in Africa! Or so says Ryan Blumenthal who is a forensic pathologist there. “To the forensic pathologist, a corpse represents a crime scene that potentially contains many clues about the cause of death.”

I would say that my fascination with death stems from my initial introduction to Patricia Cornwells Kay Scarpetta books when I was in high school. That led to my e
...more
Kris
Apr 10, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“We close the eyes of the dead, but the dead open the eyes of the living.”

Damn, there are a lot of really crazy ways that you can die in Africa! Or so says Ryan Blumenthal who is a forensic pathologist there. “To the forensic pathologist, a corpse represents a crime scene that potentially contains many clues about the cause of death.”

I would say that my fascination with death stems from my initial introduction to Patricia Cornwells Kay Scarpetta books when I was in high school. That led to my e
...more
Gem ~Zero Shelf Control~
I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher, in return for an honest review. This review is based entirely on my own thoughts and feelings.

Writing : 4*
Information : 4*
Uniqueness : 3*
Science: 3*
Weird preachy ending: 1*

I am so disappointed in the ending it has kind of ruined it for me. If I was rating the first 80% of this book I would say this is a strong 4/4.5 read. The information and unique angle of this was brilliant. Yes I didn’t know what some of the science-y words meant but it
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Tove R.
Mar 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's always a bit different in Africa, the good and the bad. It's a tough life being a forensic pathologist in South Africa, but it seems like it is also rewarding. The cases and stories in this book are intriguing, and even though I'm not sure I can stomach them in real life, it was eye-opening to read about different autopsies.

I have a huge respect for Pyan Blumenthal and his colleagues doing what they do in the different settings with expectations not always easy to fulfill. It is not a glam
...more
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