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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 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 pinpoint time of death. But during a forensics career that spans half a century, Bass and his work have ranged far beyond the gates of the Body Farm. In this riveting book, the bone sleuth explores the rise of modern forensic science, using fascinating cases from his career to take readers into the real world of C.S.I. Some of Bill Bass's cases rely on the simplest of tools and techniques, such as reassembling—from battered torsos and a stack of severed limbs—eleven people hurled skyward by an explosion at an illegal fireworks factory. Other cases hinge on sophisticated techniques Bass could not have imagined when he began his career: harnessing scanning electron microscopy to detect trace elements in knife wounds; and extracting DNA from a long-buried corpse, only to find that the female murder victim may have been mistakenly identified a quarter-century before. In Beyond the Body Farm, readers will follow Bass as he explores the depths of an East Tennessee lake with a twenty-first-century sonar system, in a quest for an airplane that disappeared with two people on board thirty-five years ago; see Bass exhume fifties pop star "the Big Bopper" to determine what injuries he suffered in the plane crash that killed three rock and roll legends on "the day the music died"; and join Bass as he works to decipher an ancient Persian death scene nearly three thousand years old. Witty and engaging, Bass dissects the methods used by homicide investigators every day, leading readers on an extraordinary journey into the high-tech science that it takes to crack a case.


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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 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 pinpoint time of death. But during a forensics career that spans half a century, Bass and his work have ranged far beyond the gates of the Body Farm. In this riveting book, the bone sleuth explores the rise of modern forensic science, using fascinating cases from his career to take readers into the real world of C.S.I. Some of Bill Bass's cases rely on the simplest of tools and techniques, such as reassembling—from battered torsos and a stack of severed limbs—eleven people hurled skyward by an explosion at an illegal fireworks factory. Other cases hinge on sophisticated techniques Bass could not have imagined when he began his career: harnessing scanning electron microscopy to detect trace elements in knife wounds; and extracting DNA from a long-buried corpse, only to find that the female murder victim may have been mistakenly identified a quarter-century before. In Beyond the Body Farm, readers will follow Bass as he explores the depths of an East Tennessee lake with a twenty-first-century sonar system, in a quest for an airplane that disappeared with two people on board thirty-five years ago; see Bass exhume fifties pop star "the Big Bopper" to determine what injuries he suffered in the plane crash that killed three rock and roll legends on "the day the music died"; and join Bass as he works to decipher an ancient Persian death scene nearly three thousand years old. Witty and engaging, Bass dissects the methods used by homicide investigators every day, leading readers on an extraordinary journey into the high-tech science that it takes to crack a case.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Val

    "In the chapters that follow, you'll see how things we've learned at the Body Farm have helped us identify the dead, figure out what happened to them, and in many cases (though, sadly not all) bring killers to justice. I found this book even more fascinating than I did Death's Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab the Body Farm Where the Dead Do Tell Tales, and I didn't think that would be possible! It was compelling to read how much more sophisticated tools and techniques have become since Dr. "In the chapters that follow, you'll see how things we've learned at the Body Farm have helped us identify the dead, figure out what happened to them, and in many cases (though, sadly not all) bring killers to justice. I found this book even more fascinating than I did Death's Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab the Body Farm Where the Dead Do Tell Tales, and I didn't think that would be possible! It was compelling to read how much more sophisticated tools and techniques have become since Dr. Bass first created his body farm. I found the section regarding the Big Bopper being exhumed (when his casket was being moved to a different section of the cemetery) very interesting. Who would have guessed we'd ever know exactly what his injuries were - and which had been fatal, after all of this time? I highly recommend both books!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lady ♥ Belleza

    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 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 specialty is bones, he has also worked with teeth and his students have studied bugs, tool marks on bones and many things to help solve the cases that come their way. This book did not delve deeply into his personal life, he does make brief mention, such as, “I didn’t go on this case because my wife at the time was battling cancer ….” and “I have to give credit to my third wife …. because she made me do ….”. I think his other book Death’s Acre is more of a memoir than this, he refers to it and now it is on my To Be Read list. Dr. Bass writes in a very informal manner, he explains things so the layperson can understand. It could be he learned this from his years testifying and having to make juries understand. He doesn’t go beyond his knowledge or experience, he admits when he doesn’t understand some aspect of forensic science. The result is an informative enjoyable book that I recommend.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    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 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 cases

  4. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    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 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 techniques used by Bass and his colleagues to solve crimes or mysteries. Bass resumes his dry wit and adds a layer of ‘teachable moments’, while still keeping the reader interested in the subject matter. Delving into some long-spanning cases, some highly disturbing murders, and one ‘famous’ case, Bass keeps the reader hooked, while explaining the wonderful world of osteo-analysis and the nuances that make all the difference. Well worth seeing things from the other side of the coin, Bass fans will surely appreciate this work and may notice some factual similarities between these tales and the plotlines in the Body Farm novels. While Bass does lament the CSI generation for expecting things at the drop of a hat, I was introduced to forensics through this show and, perhaps, books by Kathy Reichs. That said, when I began reading the Body Farm series, I was well-versed in understanding some of the nuances and how bones, bugs, and decomposition could assist investigations. However, it was not until I took the time to read both of Bass’ non-fiction tales (quasi-memoirs, as he labels them) that I got a true feel for what goes on and the time it takes. Cram an entire case into 40 minutes on CSI or BONES and you have a condensed version of the meticulous art behind forensics (especially anthropology). Bass blew me away with some of the details he imparted in the book and his utter determination to help those who can no longer help themselves (and provide answers to families who may have lost hope). The stories flow freely, even if there are textbook-like moments to help the reader better understand what is going on. Well worth the time and effort and a wonderful precursor to reading the Body Farm series for any interested reader. Kudos, Messrs. Jefferson and Bass for yet another great book, full of insight and gruesome detail. I will be sure to share my praise with others, if only to help educate them on this important wing of crime detection.

  5. 4 out of 5

    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 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

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    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 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 the Worm Farm chapter....). Otherwise if I was still still I was reading - it was obsessive. I needed to know how each case went. I now know where the little Identity Crisis novella came from - three chapters worth from this book. I just skipped them since I've already read that story. I used to be in college for exactly this topic, too. I'm still mad at my 20 year old self for not following through.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    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 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 almost condescending. I don't know that I would've had the patience to finish it if I weren't hoping to get something out of it professionally.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Smith

    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. 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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Fishface

    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. 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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dav

    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) Overview "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 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) Overview "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 his work have ranged far beyond the gates of the "Body Farm." In this riveting book, the renowned bone sleuth explores the rise of modern forensic science and takes readers deep into the real world of crime scene investigation (CSI). Beyond the Body Farm is an extraordinary journey through some of the most fascinating investigations of Dr. Bass's career—and a remarkable look at the high-tech science used to crack the most perplexing cases." "The Dead Do Tell Tales" Dr. Bill Bass and his collaborator Jon Jefferson use the pen name Jefferson Bass to co-author The Body Farm novel series. In those intriguing stories you'll find some of the details of the actual cases he presents in this autobiography. Dr. Bass begins the book with his first encounter with an exhumed body. More than 50 years ago Bill was a student studying sterile bones in the classroom, when he's asked to accompany his Professor during the ID of a corpse. When the coffin opens the putrescence and smell cause Bill to hurl; an embarrassment never repeated. Dr. Bass, now aging and ailing is actually retired, but he can't turn down calls for his expertise and remains quite busy. The importance of forensic anthropology lies in restoring identity to unknown bodies and bones. Throughout the book Dr. Bass reveals a variety of cases, skills and equipment in the forensic anthropology processes. Examples of his work: In 1964 he's called to Iran to identify three 2,800 year old skeletons found with an unusual golden bowl. An illegal fireworks operation explodes, disarticulating or blowing apart nearly a dozen bodies. A 12th person, a kid was blown sky-high, sailing over the house to land alive in the front yard and found walking, but in shock. A Chop Shop crook kills his whistleblower brother-in-law, but is convicted by teeth marks he left in his cigar stub. The son of J.P. Richardson Junior has J.P.'s body exhumed and examined by Dr. Bass, to find out if he may have survived the plane crash and tryed to go for help. No; careful analysis shows J.P. died on impact. The book also covers IDs through dental records; info gained from viewing decomposing corpses at the Body Farm; the significance of flies and maggots; the CSI effect; the long process of investigation and DNA analysis; ongoing improvements in accuracy and speed with computer-aided analysis and so much more. Dr. Bass gives the realities of forensic anthropology over the past 50 plus years. CSI is the abbreviated, edited version of crime scene investigation and the Body Farm novels add suspense and urgency to a tedious, gory job. Mostly liked it. 3 or 4 Stars. •

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    A unique look at a man and his mysterious work (not that he's mysterious but the work is used to solve mysteries) of the body. How can we know whether this skeleton is five days old or 400 years old? How can we figure out from a soapy,waxy material behind our eyeball about what kind of situation they were in? It's all the kind of fascinating mystery stuff that's the real life version of any crime scene investigative fictional series on television. It's the living people who do this work, build t A unique look at a man and his mysterious work (not that he's mysterious but the work is used to solve mysteries) of the body. How can we know whether this skeleton is five days old or 400 years old? How can we figure out from a soapy,waxy material behind our eyeball about what kind of situation they were in? It's all the kind of fascinating mystery stuff that's the real life version of any crime scene investigative fictional series on television. It's the living people who do this work, build the databases, and are curious enough to create entire farms of decomposition in order to process bodies and build repositories for knowledge and information. Bass provides faces/names/places to stories about real life situations that they've learned something from.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Travel Writing

    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 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 Thanksgiving, but doing so in the most gentle and beige way as possible as to not piss off your great aunt, his wife. It is also enjoyable to see how many ways Dr. Bass can give himself a little sideways 'kudos' or humble brag. He is epic at it. :)

  13. 5 out of 5

    AJ Payne

    Audiobook. 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 Audiobook. 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 anthropology, though there is occasional talk of other fields of forensics. Real life Bones. And better than the Reichs books.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    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 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 noticed this in countless other books - what's up with the title? I have a hard time believing that the man who wrote the book also gave himself the title of "Legendary". If he did, that's a bit of an issue. Not to question the legendary-ness of him, not at all. I'm guessing the editor chose it, because it's more dramatic this way. Again, I'm not trying to take anything away from a man who helped push forensic anthropology to its present form, but I'm just endlessly fascinated at way some titles are framed.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rtrred

    Good book. A must read for people interested in Forensic Anthropology.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    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 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 took his life, but more about how the exhumation of his body was cathartic to his descendants. It's also amazing to read about the evolution of forensics from his beginning to now, with modern computing and tools.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    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.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paul Weiss

    A thoroughly entertaining series of forensic vignettes Tennessee's Anthropological Research Facility (ARF), made famous by its more colloquial nickname in Patricia Cornwell's novel The Body Farm is a world class scientific institution dedicated to the thesis that dead men DO tell tales. Did you know, for instance, that entomological studies have determined the rate at which blow flies and maggots attack a decaying corpse is related to a wide variety of variables such as humidity and accumulated d A thoroughly entertaining series of forensic vignettes Tennessee's Anthropological Research Facility (ARF), made famous by its more colloquial nickname in Patricia Cornwell's novel The Body Farm is a world class scientific institution dedicated to the thesis that dead men DO tell tales. Did you know, for instance, that entomological studies have determined the rate at which blow flies and maggots attack a decaying corpse is related to a wide variety of variables such as humidity and accumulated degree-days since the date of death? Of course, this means that historical weather records and the degree to which a corpse is infested by flies, maggots, pupae and pupa casings can be used in an uncannily accurate model to determine time since death. I was awestruck to find out that one dedicated graduate student spent months preparing a database of the forensic evidence that is left behind when a murder victim is dismembered by a saw - ANY kind of saw ... hack saw, coping saw, cross cut saw, ripping saw, circular saw, configured with ANY kind of blade, tooth count, pitch, thickness and so on. I was equally fascinated to learn of the minor skeletal differences that can be used to distinguish between the world's major races - caucasoid, negroid and mongoloid. Other differences such as sex, age and stature can be determined to an incredibly high level of accuracy with an almost unbelievably small amount of intact skeletal evidence. Bill Bass's first book, Death's Acre is a poignant autobiography, both professional and personal, of Bill Bass, the Body Farm's celebrated founder; a history of some of the most interesting forensic cases that were the driving force or the raison d'être behind the directions in which Bill Bass's professional life evolved; a celebration of the development of his students and professional colleagues; and, of course, a history of the science of forensic anthropology which, even today, might be considered to be in its infancy and barely out of the nursery. The sequel, Beyond the Body Farm is just as exciting but, rather than being a mere memoir is more a collection of vignettes describing the details of a series of specific cases that Bill Bass found particularly challenging, especially moving or perhaps even unique in the history of his work on the Body Farm. For example, you'll be amazed at the ability of modern science to determine the cause of death of a Persian soldier whose remains, dead and buried for thousands of years, were discovered by an archeological team working in Asia. You'll be charmed at how forensic reconstruction of facial features (made famous in fiction by Iris Johansen's character, Eve Duncan) helped to identify the remains of a long-lost girl and provide closure to a grieving family. You'll learn that it is virtually impossible for a criminal to cover his tracks with even the intense heat of an accelerated arson fire. And, my personal favourite, you'll enjoy the description of Bill Bass's fascinating work with the family of the Big Bopper to put to rest any ideas of scandal, foul play or missing bodies after his untimely death in a tragic airplane crash. Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the two non-fiction works that Dr Bass has produced, I'm looking forward to the fictional Body Farm novel series that begins with Flesh and Bone. Highly recommended. Paul Weiss

  19. 4 out of 5

    Keilani Ludlow

    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 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 read about the techniques used and the things that were learned, and the things that prompted them to new research. One thing that was also enjoyable shows up because of his many years in the field. He tells about a case he couldn’t solve (entirely – it was partially solved) and then 20+ years later, when new technology is available, he remembers past cases and goes back to them with new technology to try and solve what they couldn’t solve in the past. That is pretty cool. This is more of a collection of small stories, and I’ve never been a small story kind of gal. You just get interested and it’s over. Not enough time for plot and character development. However, having read the first book, while this read like a selection of short stories, it also continued the story line from the first book so there was a more enjoyable feeling of continuity.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Julie Haigh

    Wow! 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 Wow! 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, photos of The Body Farm research facility etc. My sister is a dental nurse so I found the chapters detailing how they go about identifying someone from dental records really interesting. Rather than just saying they identified someone in this way it actually goes into a lot of detail as to how they do this. It mentions unusual tooth roots/ unusual bite patterns etc. The chapters involving facial reconstruction from a skull are amazing. The photos included about this and how they identified someone in this way are mind-blowing. Also included is the plane crash which killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and 'Big Bopper' and some of the findings/conclusions. All really interesting. This is such a rewarding and enriching read, I really feel like I have learnt so much and will definitely read 'Death's Acre' by the same author.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen

    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 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 appreciate the advancements in forensic science that have made such a difference in lives of the victims' families. Often times, forensics is the only way a crime is solved or a long-time question about a person's death is answered. Some of the details about the condition of the bodies are gruesome and like the first Body Farm book, a strong stomach is definitely a prerequisite. It's a sad fact of life that there are murders, plane crashes and explosions which kill people. It's good to know there are forensic scientists who have dedicated their lives to this profession so that loved ones can have some closure.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    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 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 be done and how quickly--dna results do not take minutes as the CSI tv shows imply, instead they can take weeks and even months. I understand that the authors (Jon Jefferson is co-author with Bass) have published some murder mysteries under the pen name of Jefferson Bass, and I intend to look into those. Anyone who enjoys forensic detective shows on tv will probably learn quite a bit from this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Penny

    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 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 barred kind of read. The photos in the center have a couple that are a little gruesome. The detail of injuries might be a little much for some. It's good to note this isn't going to be a gentle look into the work. For that, I'm glad. It's a must read for anyone who thinks forensics would be a cool, fun career. It gives a good idea of what to expect.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    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 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 few people were doing this kind of work back then. Perhaps this would also be a good eye opener for anyone going into forensics thinking they're going to end up working on fascinating cases with deceitful witnesses and big twists just before the bad guy is (always) caught.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    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 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. Not a complaint, just an observation. Unlike some others, I have no issue with Bass's occasional flippant tone or sense of humor. Perhaps it comes from working in the medical field (especially EMS). I couldn't help but grin or chuckle occasionally -- something else I enjoy of Bass.

  26. 5 out of 5

    James

    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 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 leaving compassion and good taste behind. Now I'm looking forward to reading these authors' series of forensic detective novels. I heartily recommend this, and the book to which it is a sequel (Death's Acre), to fans of the TV series Bones and anyone else interested in forensic science.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    (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 (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 drawl for me. Next time I'll just read a forensic science textbook.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    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. 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.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    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. 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.

  30. 4 out of 5

    David

    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? 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?

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