Mary Roach’s Stiff offers a tour of the afterlife: she answers the question what happens to our bodies after we die. She explores funeral homes, autopsies, medical training, medical research, crash testing, body armor testing, cremation, brain death, natural decomposition, and organ transplants among other topics.
Is is meticulously researched. Roach visits all manner of medical, research, and funeral facilities in addition to quoting from medical texts ranging back more than two millennia.
Roach advocates for both organ donation and donating your body for medical research arguing that morticians and the natural process of decay will treat your cadaver no less roughly and provide no benefit to anyone else.
She brings a sense of humor and a willingness to ask the most candid questions to everyone she encounters, and does not shy away from observing every aspect of a medical procedure, test, or burial preparation process that her hosts would allow her to. Here is an example from a visit to workshop where plastic surgeons practice their techniques on disembodied cadaver heads.