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Publisher's Summary

Carla Valentine works with the dead. After studying forensics, she assisted pathologists with postmortems for years before becoming the curator of the world's most famous pathology museum. When it comes to death, she truly is an expert, and in this book she shares that expertise.
Using the most common postmortem process as the backbone of the narrative, The Chick and the Dead takes the listener through the process of an autopsy while also describing the history and changing cultures of our relationship with the dead. The book is full of vivid insight into what happens to our bodies in the end. Each chapter considers an aspect of an autopsy alongside an aspect of Carla's own life and work and touches on some of the more controversial aspects of our feelings toward death, including the relationship between sex and death and our attitudes toward human tissue collection.
Starting with the first cut, we move from external examination into the body itself, discovering more about the heart, stomach, and brain, and into dismembered and reconstructed bodies, at each stage taking a colorful detour into the question of what these things can teach us about the living.
©2017 Carla Valentine (P)2017 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"[Valentine's] zest for gross-out depictions of bodily spectacularly well...the book succeeds as a morbidly galloping parade of every possible kind of dead body." ( The New York Times)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Leah on 08-19-17


While I'm sure the stories are really interesting, the narration is so lifeless and droning that I found myself daydreaming often. I rewound several times after zoning out but zoned out again-every time.
I didn't care for the history at all. I prefer personal and work stories, but after rewinding several times, I gave up. I can't finish.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 01-07-18

Fantastic Storytelling!

Absolutely fantastic book that was a perfect blend of humor, introspection, tidbits of informative insight into the world of post mortems, and a great example of finding your place. If you have a natural curiosity about what goes on behind the mortuary door and why people choose the death industry as a profession, you will definitely enjoy this book!

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