Author Topic: Body Brokers: Inside America's Underground Trade in Human Remains  (Read 2242 times)

Devious Viper
  • Guest
Body Brokers: Inside America's Underground Trade in Human Remains
Annie Cheney (2006)
ISBN: 0767917332

Body Brokers is the product of an unsettling and candid investigation by respected journalist Annie Cheney into the systems that handle our loved ones after death. It's a gripping and confrontational book that gives new meaning to the phrase "life after death." Body Brokers first began as an article for Harpers magazine, drawing so much morbid fascination and controversy that it won the prestigious 2005 Deadline Club Award.

The book relates how human corpses destined for anatomy classes, burial or cremation; somehow wind-up becoming a commodity to be carved up and sold by unscrupulous entrepreneurs. Sure, there are the government organ and tissue transplant programs, but the transactions in body parts conducted by a network of shady "body brokers" go beyond the pale. What's most frightening is the prevalence of the problem, most likely due, we are told, to the fact that one cadaver can fetch up to US$10,000. "That torso that you're living in right now is just flesh and bones. To me, it's a product," one body broker told Cheney.

From funeral directors to crematorium owners, Cheney shows how the combination of no federal regulation and a high price for a corpse is just too much of an opportunity for many in the industry to pass up. Where do the bodies end up? Well, there are many commercial medical seminars continually head-hunting ambitious cadavers. Then there's the military that are always in need of a corpse or two; so that they can make sure all of their explosive thingies are working with maximum efficiency. And you thought you couldn't be drafted after death! Itís a grisly and damning indictment, but a compelling page-turner that's hard to put down.


Reviewed by ScienceAGoGo

Bloody Angel
  • Guest
Re: Body Brokers: Inside America's Underground Trade in Human Remains
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2006, 09:20:30 AM »
As it is about cadavers too (though those donated to the scientific community in the States) let me remind another book, Stiff, by Mary Roach.
I had a very good time reading it: it's funny from the opening line, that goes "The way I see it, being dead is not terribly far off from being on a cruise ship. Most of your time is spent lying on your back", until its very end.
Yet it manages to combine the light-hearted writing style of Ms. Roach to an in-depth survey about corpses and their final destination.