Not too long ago, there was no coming back from death. But now, with revolutionary medical advances, death has become just another serious complication. As a young medical student, Dr. David Casarett was inspired by the story of a two-year-old girl named Michelle Funk. Michelle fell into a creek and was underwater for over an hour. When she was found she wasn't breathing, and her pupils were fixed and dilated. That drowning should have been fatal. But after three hours of persistent work, a team of doctors and nurses was able to bring her back. It was a miracle. If Michelle could come back after three hours of being dead, what about 12 hours? Or 24? What would it take to revive someone who had been frozen for 1,000 years? And what does blurring the line between "life" and "death" mean for society?
In Shocked, Casarett chronicles his exploration of the cutting edge of resuscitation and reveals just how far science has come. He begins in the 18th century, when early attempts at resuscitation involved public displays of barrel rolling, horseback riding (sort of), and blowing smoke up the patient's various orifices. He then takes us inside a sophisticated cryonics facility in the Arizona desert, a darkroom full of hibernating lemurs in North Carolina, and a laboratory that puts mice into a state of suspended animation. The result is a spectacular tour of the bizarre world of doctors, engineers, animal biologists, and cryogenics enthusiasts trying to bring the recently dead back to life. Fascinating, thought-provoking, and (believe it or not) funny, Shocked is perfect for those looking for a prequel - and a sequel - to Mary Roach's Stiff, or for anyone who likes to ponder the ultimate questions of life and death.
Editors Select, August - I don’t normally listen to nonfiction, but if the first few chapters of Shocked are any indication, I may have to change my tune. Dr. David Casarett’s Shocked: Adventures in Bringing Back the Recently Dead will naturally draw many comparisons to Mary Roach’s best-selling listener favorite, Stiff. Dr. Casarett is a hospice doctor, UPenn professor, and an expert in end-of-life care, and in this book, he takes us through all the techniques – new and old, ingenious and bizarre – used to keep people alive. While the topic is not just morbid, but morbidity itself, the author keeps the tone light, the pace quick, and the humor prevalent. David Epstein, author of The Sports Gene, called it "heartbreaking," "hilarious," and "important." I’m sure the book will be in good hands with nonfiction narrator extraordinaire Walter Dixon (The Willpower Instinct, Spark), and I’m looking forward to listening to the whole thing. Chris, Audible Editor
"Shocked is by turns heartbreaking and hilarious. But more than that, it’s an important book that should force an urgent discussion of the hairline border between alive and dead, and the incredible ethical (and economic) questions we face as technology redraws that boundary." (David Epstein, author of The Sports Gene)
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Dead vs. Sincerely Dead
- Sherri Bass