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Dead Men Do Tell Tales: The Strange and…
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Dead Men Do Tell Tales: The Strange and Fascinating Cases of a Forensic… (vuoden 1995 painos)

– tekijä: William R. Maples, Michael Browning

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
8781917,998 (3.88)29
From a skeleton, a skull, a mere fragment of burnt thighbone, Dr. William Maples can deduce the age, gender, and ethnicity of a murder victim, the manner in which the person was dispatched, and, ultimately, the identity of the killer. In Dead Men Do Tell Tales, Dr. Maples revisits his strangest, most interesting, and most horrific investigations, from the baffling cases of conquistador Francisco Pizarro and Vietnam MIAs to the mysterious deaths of President Zachary Taylor and the family of Czar Nicholas II.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:therowdydog
Teoksen nimi:Dead Men Do Tell Tales: The Strange and Fascinating Cases of a Forensic Anthropologist
Kirjailijat:William R. Maples
Muut tekijät:Michael Browning
Info:Broadway Books (1995), Edition: 1, Paperback, 304 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
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Dead Men Do Tell Tales: The Strange and Fascinating Cases of a Forensic Anthropologist (tekijä: William R. Maples)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 19) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
From my Cannonball Read 5 review ...

Dead Men Do Tell Tales is a fascinating, detailed book by Dr. William Maples, an amazingly accomplished forensic anthropologist. You may be familiar with that field if you watch “Bones,” although as is usually the case, what you see on screen doesn’t closely match reality. A forensic anthropologist is trained in examining human remains to learn more about the decedent. They can tell if bones belonged to a woman or man, approximate age, and explain wounds. It’s very detail-oriented work, at times taking months or years when the identity is unknown (not the 45 minutes plus commercials Emily Deschanel might suggest).

In his book from the 90s, Dr. Maples takes the reader through many different cases he’s participated in over the years. Some involve people you’ve never heard of, and some are so famous it would be understandable if you didn’t quite believe what you were reading. Dr. Maples was, no joke, part of the small team that confirmed the identity of the bones of the murdered last Tsars of Russia. He put to rest the idea that President Taylor was killed by arsenic poisoning. He also helped convict murderers whose crimes were devastating but whose names you and I might not recognize.

As evidenced by my line of work, I find this to be an extremely interesting topic. I’ve read Mary Roach’s Stiff, as well as a couple of other books about the lives of medical examiners. If nothing else is on TV, I’ll likely leave it tuned to Dr. G. Medical Examiner or some other disease-related show on TLC or Discovery. I say all of that in service of the recognition that this type of writing is just not for everyone.

It is EXTREMELY graphic. Not to shock, but to explain. How else can he express to you how he was able to identify a murder weapon than to explain how he matched it to the wounds to the victim’s bones? Without the detail, it would be a very short book, with each chapter consisting of “so I did my work and concluded X.” His way of writing is so much better – it makes sense, and gives the reader a real insight into how forensic anthropology works.

If you enjoy history, or true crime stories, or science, and are not easily sickened by detailed descriptions of human remains, I think you’ll really enjoy this book. The only reason I gave it four stars is because at times the non-forensic writing (the set-up to the crime, or background) is a bit too flowery for my tastes. I appreciate creative turns of phrase, and I don’t doubt that the authors really do write this way, but at times it felt a little like one of them just got a new thesaurus. Additionally, while it suits the structure of the book, each chapter feels like its own independent essay; he re-explains some things as though the reader hadn’t just learned about them 50 pages prior.

But those are minimal complaints. It’s a great book. ( )
  ASKelmore | Jul 8, 2017 |
Completed 3/13/17 ( )
  ERose207 | Mar 13, 2017 |
well-written but just not that interesting. ( )
  mahallett | Jul 25, 2016 |
I stopped reading after the first 15% of the book. I couldn't handle the very clear descriptions of the decay of dead people. The author clearly has the respect for human remains as they once contained a living person. The book is clearly meant to educate, and in no way is intentionally morbid. If you can read the scientific facts and distance your emotions, this is probably a very informstive book. ( )
  33racoonie | Jan 19, 2015 |
Recently, an online acquaintance suggested we begin exchanging books through the post. The first book she wanted to send was Dead Men Do Tell Tales: The Strange and Fascinating Cases of a Forensic Anthropologist by William R. Maples, PhD and William Browning. ‘And it has pictures too!’ she said. I promptly gave her my address (I’m typing this post two months later, so she wasn’t a homicidal maniac) and shortly thereafter the book arrived on my doorstep. (For those of you playing along at home, I sent her Execution by Geoffrey Abbott.)

Forensic anthropology (what Temperance Brennan does on Bones) has always been something of a passing interest of mine, but this was my first in-depth reading about the subject. The science hasn’t been around all that long and Maples has been a part of a good portion of it. Particularly interesting were chapters on cremation, the truly twisted Meeks-Jenning case, his involvement with identifying the Romanovs and his thoughts upon meeting Ted Bundy, but the book was full of wonderful information. Like this:

"The instruments of murder are manifold as the unlimited human imagination. Apart from the obvious–shotguns, rifles, pistols, knives, hatches and axes–I have seen meat cleavers, machetes, ice picks, bayonets, hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers, crowbars, prybars, two-by-fours, tree limbs, jack handles (which are not ‘tire irons'; nobody carries tire irons anymore), building blocks, crutches, artificial legs, brass bedposts, pipes, bricks, belts, neckties, pantyhose, ropes, bootlaces, towels and chains–all these things and more, used by human beings to dispatch fellow human beings into eternity. I have never seen a butler use a candelabrum! Such recherché elegance is apparently confided to England. I did see a pair of sneakers used to kill a woman, and they left distinctive tread marks where the murderer stepped on her throat and crushed the life from her. I have not seen an icicle used to stab someone, though it is said to be the perfect weapon, because it melts afterward. But I do know of a case in which a man was bludgeoned to death with a frozen ham."

Maples also talks about the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, which, at the time of writing, only had fourteen members, and they got together once a year. It sounded rather like a hair-raising hoot. One member would share slides of his most…eye-opening cases and the group would discuss historical problems like whether or not Van Gogh’s color imagery and style was a result of digitalis poisoning or what was the final body count of the legendary feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys.

During the annual meetings, prospective applicants had to undergo rigorous examinations including identifying bones. This involved members transporting skulls to and from the gatherings.

"This requires some explanation, particularly at airports. I always make a point of telling the airline ticket agent just how many skulls I have with me in my luggage–not to shock her, but to make sure, in case the plane crashes, investigators will know why there were more skulls than passengers aboard. This is mere professional courtesy to my colleagues, who will have to pick through my remains in the event of an accident."

I can’t help picturing one of the members being late for a plane and not having time to explain what’s in his bag–the plane crashing and the forensics people being completely baffled with the extra bits and bobs everywhere. An extra Asian male tibia hither and an extra African female fibula yon will really mess up an incident report.

But I digress, I’ve taken loads of other notes, all of which will eventually appear over in the left sidebar under Sciences.

Dead Men Do Tell Tales was published in the mid 90s and I would love to know how the field has changed in the last twenty years. The beginning was a little slow and some of the case studies could drag a bit but overall it was an excellent introduction to forensic anthropology by someone who was there. The first-person account of identifying Tsar Nicholas II and his family is worth it if you find a used copy somewhere. ( )
  vlcraven | Jan 19, 2015 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 19) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

From a skeleton, a skull, a mere fragment of burnt thighbone, Dr. William Maples can deduce the age, gender, and ethnicity of a murder victim, the manner in which the person was dispatched, and, ultimately, the identity of the killer. In Dead Men Do Tell Tales, Dr. Maples revisits his strangest, most interesting, and most horrific investigations, from the baffling cases of conquistador Francisco Pizarro and Vietnam MIAs to the mysterious deaths of President Zachary Taylor and the family of Czar Nicholas II.

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