If you are a fan of forensic science based books and TV shows (like Patricia Cornwell's books or CSI) then this book is for you! This book is all about the "Body Farm": the plot in Knoxville, TN where forensic scientists study how dead bodies decompose under different conditions. While not for the squeamish, this book is so fascinating that it is hard to put down!
I am fascinated by investigation procedures and found this book to be utterly fascinating. There was some gore, but it does discuss dead and decomposing bodies. I had heard of the Body Farm and Patricia Cornwell's book. But I had not gotten a chance to read much about it. In March of 2006, I was asked to interview Dr Bass (founder of the Body Farm) and his writing partner Jon Jefferson. How could I refuse? They are both wonderful and fascinating people. Dr. Bass answered many of my questions about a book I was writing at the time which has a decomposed skeleton in it. I figured, who better to ask than Dr. Bass :) As an author who is moving into more mystery writing, I found this book invaluable and have marked many pages of information to use for additional details in upcoming books.
I would also recommend that you take a look at the novel written by Jon Jefferson and Dr Bass - they write under the pen name Jefferson Bass and the first book is Carved in Bone. Not as graphic as Death's Acre, but the forensic info is great and spurred a couple of ideas for my first mystery :) The second book in the series is scheduled for release in March 2007.
Ever since I read The Body Farm by Cornwell and saw the 60 minutes episode on the body farm I have been intrigued by forensic science. This book, although very gory & graphic, explains how advances in forensic science have been made over the last 20 years. It is truly amazing. If you are a fan of Cornwell or CSI, this is a must read. Truly facinating.
This is an utterly fascinating book describing a series of case studies taken from the career of the first author, Bill Bass, who is one of the nation's leading forensic anthropologists and the founder of the Body Farm. I have also had a life-long interest in true crime books, so when I found out about "Death's Acre" I ordered it promptly
Wonderful non-fiction book with all the excitement of a fictional forensic murder mystery. Dr Bass includes several anecdotes about mistakes he made which reveals the human side of scientific research and the perils of making assumptions. Though written as a biography, all fans of Bones, CSI, or Criminal Minds will love this book that shares not only how "The Body Farm" came into being, but many of its precedent-setting experiments as well as a selection of real-life crimes that Dr. Bass is called upon to help solve thru the science of forensic anthropology.
The only negative I found was that some of the chapters seem to have been written as "stand alone" stories, then included in the book so that certain references are repeated over and over (such as the mistakes Dr Bass made over the years).
Additional treat is the foreword by Patricia Cornwell as well as the chapter about her request for a forensic experiment to be done that helps her write her novel "The Body Farm" which in turn brings Dr Bass' research facility into the public limelight and greatly increases donations of bodies for his research.
What happens when a body is left above ground? Underground in plastic? In a car trunk? The differences from a scientific/ molecular view is fascinating. This is a very interesting window into the world of Dr. Bass - how he was drawn to this field of study, the hurdles he had to clear to get funding for his research - and the graduate students who are drawn to this field of science. Dr. Bass approaches his work with respect for the dead, yet maintains a gentle sense of humor as he explains the how and why of what he does. A fascinating read!
This is an interesting and compelling look at the Body Farm at the University of Tennesse, written by the forensic anthropologist who created it. He describes a number of true crime cases that he has been called on as an expert witness, how he got his start in anthropology and how he is able to determine age, sex, and stature from just a handful of bone fragments. He also details how he first met Patricia Cornwell and how she got her start in writing the Kay Scarpetta series. A must-read for true crime aficionados or fans of Patricia Cornwell.
Heather reviewed Death's Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab, The Body Farm, Where the Dead Do Tell Tales on
Helpful Score: 1
Very Good book. Death's acre invites readers on an unprecedented journey behind the gates of the body farm.A patch of land in the Tennessee hills, where corpses decompose and forensic anthropology is revolutionized.
This book is by Dr. Bill Bass, the world's leading forensic anthropologist of our time. He developed the body farm for the FBI, which led to all of the CSI drama information both in real life and in the TV series.
Fantastic Book! I Highly Recommend it!!!!! Having said That (which seems to be enough of a "review" for some people), I suppose I should embelish a little. This is an utterly fascinating book which describes a series of case studies of Dr. Bill Bass - the founder of the infamous "Body Farm". Although written from a Forensic Anthropologists point of view, you don't have to "be one" to enjoy this book. If you can accept that by listening to the audiobook, you are missing out on photos, tables of bone charts, etc. you can really settle into this. It's an education in itself. If you are a fan of Patricia Cornwell's book "the Body Farm" and/or the work done by the lab people on CSI (all locales), then this book will reach out and grab you! A simple warning is due however, there are graphic descriptions of the putrification processes that take over when someone dies - if you don't feel you can listen about how long it takes for maggots to devour a dead body at what temperature - look for something a little easier on the ears. This is definately NOT a listen for your children, pre-high school levels. This book is professionaly produced, well read, highly informative, and exciting. If I hadn't noticed that some other PBS member had it on his/her Wish List - I would make this audio a permanent fixture on my bookshelf!