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Beyond the Body Farm: A Legendary Bone Detective Explores Murders, Mysteries, and the Revolution in Forensic Science

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  5,081 Ratings  ·  222 Reviews
There is no scientist in the world like Dr. Bill Bass. A pioneer in forensic anthropology, Bass created the world's first laboratory dedicated to the study of human decomposition—three acres of land on a hillside in Tennessee where human bodies are left to the elements. His research at "the Body Farm" has revolutionized forensic science, helping police crack cold cases and ...more
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by William Morrow (first published September 1st 2004)
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Naomi Blackburn
Dec 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Like their book Death's Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab the Body Farm Where the Dead Do Tell Tales, Beyond the Body Farm chronicles the cases of Dr. Bill Bass. With the authors' high quality of writing present, I was engrossed in the how it was solved explanations that were laid out for readers.

The only thing that I wish with this book is that I would have listened to it as I did Death Acres. There was something powerful in listening to the words that was missing in reading about the cas
Patricia Cornwell wrote a book called The Body Farm, this book is about the REAL body farm where forensic research is done. Dr. Bass has spent many years researching bones and the effects of the elements on dead bodies. His expertise has helped convict murderers, identified loved ones and solved mysteries.

He recounts not only what goes on at the Farm but also many of the cases he has been on. He gives credit where credit is due, citing work done by other scientists and his students. His specialt
maria helena
I'm a big fan of the Body Farm series, and was looking forward to reading this nonfiction collection of case studies to learn more about the career of Bass. It was definitely an interesting read, but at the end of it, I found myself wanting more. More science, more details, more cases. More gore.

3.5 stars
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
A great read, collecting more of Bill Bass's most interesting stories for our delectation. Every case has something interesting in it, like the crazy rumors circulating about "the day the music died" and how he was able to dispel them all in an afternoon with a portable x-ray machine.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction-bio
Beyond the Body Farm: A Legendary Bone Detective Explores Murders, Mysteries, and the Revolution in Forensic Science

• by William M. Bass, Jon Jefferson (pub. 2007)

"A pioneer in forensic anthropology, Dr. Bill Bass created the world's first laboratory dedicated to the study of human decomposition—three acres on a hillside in Tennessee where human bodies are left to the elements. His research has revolutionized forensic science, but during a career that has spanned half a century, Bass and
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work-related
Nie wiem jak w oryginale, ale polskie tłumaczenie chwilami było męczące ("kości policzkowe!"). Pomijam literówki, te były ale na całe szczęście było ich mało więc aż tak nie psuły radości z czytania. Niestety męczące były próby wytłumaczenia gdzie jakiś punkt znajduje się np. na czaszce, gdybym nie zajmowała się szkieletami miałabym trudności ze zrozumieniem objaśnień, z resztą lepsza połówka czytając mi czasami przez ramię potrafiła spytać "ale zaraz, to gdzie to właściwie jest, bo się zgubiłem ...more
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So considering I read this book in three days, that should be enough of an indication how I felt.

It's not entirely without some gore and maggots, but overall, I found this one slightly less gory than Death's Acre to the point where "normal" people could probably read it. Dr Bass has an excellent way of writing and narrating stories that are not only compelling, but very easy to understand. There's also quite a few funny quips throughout the book (I laughed probably a few too many times during t
Travel Writing
Sep 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Back when I was finishing my BA, one of my favorite teachers was Dr. Tom Holland (One Drop of Blood), a forensic anthropologist at the Central Identification Lab in Honolulu.

I took every single course Dr. Holland offered just to hear his stories. I had no interest in being a scientist of any kind- I just wanted him to tell one more gruesome/awesome story.

This is the same reason I read all Dr. Bass' books. His writing is tame in comparison. More like a great Uncle telling you little snippets at T

I suppose the good thing about returning to having a long commute (which I hate by the way, there is only ONE tiny, tiny upside) is getting to listen to audio books again.

This was a fun book about the founder of University of Tennessee's "Body Farm" and some of the more interesting cases he has had. And they definitely were interesting cases. Some are fascinating on their own, and some more so for people who are interested in forensics - in this case almost entirely forensic anthropolo
A highly fascinating read coming from the guy who created the Body Farm, that thing out of your nightmares that is actually an incredible aid to forensic science. It's written well, it's about people figuring out what happened to victims based on very limited evidence, it contains vivid and scientifically accurate descriptions of bones, cadavers and everything in between... what more can you ask for? I do like me some good ol' forensic examination.

The only complaint I have to file - and I've no
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful sequel to The Body Farm! Dr Bass and his coauthor Mr Jefferson have a way of explaining complicated forensic techniques in an easy to understand way, which is very appreciated by a layman such as myself. I wish that I'd known about the skeletal diagrams that are in the back of the book sooner. The three part story about Ms Leoma Patterson had me enthralled. Is she Leoma? Or someone else? Read it to find out! The Big Bopper tale isn't so much about the mystery of the plane crash which ...more
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book. As someone who has always loved a good mystery and solving a puzzle, this book goes into the myriad of scientific and technological advances that forensics has experienced in the last few decades.
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Bass returns with his second non-fiction book, further explaining his career as a forensic anthropologist and life on the Body Farm. While the book reads well independently, any reader not well versed with Bass’ work (having read all the Body Farm fiction series) ought to take the time to at least read DEATH’S ACRE, the memoir of sorts that Bass penned. This book offers a continuation in that light, highlighting some of the other cases and offers an even more detailed look at some of the techniq ...more
Keilani Ludlow
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
The second non-fiction from Dr Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson.
This could be considered a follow up to Death’s Acre, and it is definitely helpful, though not necessary, to have read Death’s Acre first.

In the first book, Dr. Bass was following a time line, telling his own story. And though it was fact, it read like a story. In this book, he is no longer following a time line, he is just telling about different cases he has worked on. Some were solved, some were not. It is interesting and enjoyable to
Julie Haigh
Sep 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone interested in DNA testing/Forensics/Finding Cause of Death
Recommended to Julie by: Amazon recommendations

This is a really fascinating book. I have recently read quite a few of this type of book and, rather than getting bored of this subject and feeling like I need a change, I actually just want to read more-especially by this author. Bill Bass writes in a way that is easy to understand and he explains everything. He includes a glossary of terms and even a few anatomical diagrams. There are lots of black and white photos included which show findings/how they proved a person was who they were, ph
Feb 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book just a couple of months after I finished the original Body Farm book by Dr. Bass. This one was quite similar, though I did learn new fascinating facts about embalming, bodies as projectiles, and facial reconstruction.

I enjoyed the book and finished it quickly. The book read almost as mini mysteries in each chapter and as such, I was eager to read to the conclusions. If you can get beyond the sadness and downright rage you may feel when reading some of these stories, you can app
Apr 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Every so often I like to read some kind of book on forensics. I liked this one because it not only tells about some of the cases Bill Bass has been involved with, but it uses those cases to show some of the different ways bodies are identified, time of death is estimated, and crimes are solved.

The authors discuss forensic dentistry, dna, insect identification, weapons and how their use can be detected in the bones, how bones survive fires, and other tools. They also explain what can and can not
Jul 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
Overall, the collection of stories was pretty well written. There was a wonderful conversational tone which felt so much like listening to someone tell a story, drifting to related subjects before gently gliding back. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in forensic work, or if you've run out of episodes of Bones and would like to read about the real work.

That being said, the book comes with a warning. It can be pretty graphic. Dr. Bass clearly intends this to be a no holds ba
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
Blazed through this in two days. Absolutely fascinating. Bass is so knowledgeable and able to present his information, findings and work in an easily understandable fashion. There are always people who can take an inherently interesting subject and make it very, very dry -- thankfully Bass isn't one of them. I enjoy his writing style almost as much as the subject matter. There was some repetition of explanations which makes the book feel like it was written case-by-case instead of as a whole. No ...more
Great on at least three levels. This is extremely well written; it's about fascinating scientific work including important research; and it's about how that science has been used to help society and individuals by helping bereaved people find out what happened to their family members and in many cases solving murders and leading to the killers being incarcerated. Given the very serious subject matter, I'm also amazed that the authors were able to make it lively and at times funny reading without ...more
Dec 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book suffers mostly from the existence of shows like Bones and CSI, which have been "educating" readers on the subject for the last ten years. I'd already heard about most of the techniques he described, but even the new ones were framed by flat storytelling. I understand that real life is not as interesting as tv, but I felt this lacked pizazz, given the subject matter.

Despite the ho-hum delivery, it was interesting learning about the history of the body farm and Bass's early career, as fe
Feb 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: academic-reading
I wanted to like this book a lot because it's by the great Dr. Bill Bass, *the* guy for forensic anthropology. And while it does a good job of covering the basic tools and techniques used in the field, the quality of writing is definitely subpar. There's a lot of redundancy and over-explaining simple concepts, and the overall use of the language is not what I would expect of someone with a Ph.D. Maybe I know more about the subject than the intended audience of this book would, but it seems almos ...more
Apr 01, 2012 rated it liked it
(audiobook) I expected more interesting info from this book than I got. If I were taking notes on each chapter and narrative, at best I'd have one line per chapter (for instance: "bones shrink" for one, "temp degrees are cumulative for figuring decomp" for another). The narratives just felt fluffy to me. Maybe because of my medical background, I just wanted more SCIENCE, less down-home anecdotes, but it was just the opposite. Maybe the narrator (audio book) just had too much of slow Southern dra ...more
Bill Bass delves into his archives for more stories relating to cases he's dealt with as a forensic anthropologist. Reading this book is like sitting with your favourite grandad while he tells you about his life. That is if your grandad spent his life with dead bodies! Although fascinating enough for anyone interested in the forensic sciences, Bass does have a tendency to wander off the chapter subject matter. Forgivable though in this octogenarian as he seems a pretty cool character.
Cindy Smith
Feb 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
almost a 3 star, but had too many distractions. the chapters read as if they were written as stand alone articles so there was repetition. also some typos/editing issues? height guessed at 5'10" but calculated to be 6', "one" inch taller than his guesstimate??

the stories were interesting though.
Dec 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2010
A good follow up to the first book. A variety of cases are included, giving an interesting glimpse into Bass's experience, expertise and the people and techniques in the field of Forensic science. The fact that not all cases covered are neatly solved also reinforces the reality of the cases described.
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
A fun read, looking at the world of forensic science from the personal perspective of one of the key players. Each chapter is a single case and told in an engaging, story-like manner. And each illustrates the development or application of a new tool or technique.
Nov 12, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: true-crime
In which we learn that otherwise unidentifiable corpses can be identified by their teeth! And by this stuff called "DNA"! And there's this new-fangled thing called "radar" that can see under water! And on and on! Who would have guessed?
Mary Drayer
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
For all forensic anthropologists out there....This book is for YOU! I did get into how people use DNA, the "body farm", and common sense to find closure for all. A good read.
Julie Lawson
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Immensely interesting - have read it twice !
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How'd you like it? 2 19 Dec 11, 2012 10:09PM  
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Co Authors with
Jon Jefferson

William M. Bass, often credited as Bill Bass, is a U.S. forensic anthropologist, renowned for his research on human osteology and human decomposition. He has also assisted federal, local, and non-US authorities in the identification of human remains. He taught at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and though currently retir
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“By now it was nearly noon and I was hungry, so we made a quick run to Mr. Burger, a tiny carryout place a mile down the road, and wolfed down lunch standing outside the cemetery shop. We positioned ourselves upwind from the coffin, but occasionally the wind would shift and the aroma of burgers would mingle with the aroma of the Bopper.” 2 likes
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