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Beyond the Body Farm


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About the Author

Dr. Bill Bass is a world-renowned forensic anthropologist, the founder of the University of Tennessee's "Body Farm," and the author of more than two hundred scientific publications. Jon Jefferson's work has appeared in the New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, and Popular Science. Together, writing as "Jefferson Bass," they have coauthored the novels Carved in Bone, Flesh and Bone, and The Devil's Bones.


Forensic anthropologist Bass nicely complements his memoir, Death's Acre, with this unnervingly cheerful collection (ably co-written by science journalist Jefferson) of case studies and anecdotes from the field of corpse identification. With careful attention to detail and the occasional darkly humorous aside, the authors describe charred maggot cocoons; the grotesquely dismembered victims of a fireworks factory explosion; and the forensic uses of sonar, scanning electron microscopes and computer databases. Disparaging "the CSI effect" on jurors who expect DNA testing to be quick and exact,Bass extols the virtues of old-fashioned legwork and gut reactions, though he's always quick to admit when his methods and intuition fall short. The authors keep the narrative flow moving nicely, and Bass's voice is practical, passionate and eminently Southern-and his decades of teaching experience at the University of Tennessee come through strongly in such helpful suggestions as "If you decide to murder somebody, don't think that you can completely cover your tracks with fire." Strong-stomached readers who like to get dirt under their nails will gladly follow the UT forensic anthropology team up mountains and into rivers as they put names and faces to long-decayed bodies. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Sept. 4) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"scientifically authoritative, as well as accessible to mainstream crime buffs...Some cases are heartbreaking; at least one is downright weird."--BookPage
"The real crimes and mysteries here are just as or more intriguing as any fictional crime drama."--Knoxville News-Sentinel
"Beyond the Body Farm offers a real-life understanding of forensic anthropology and the science behind it..."--Knoxville News-Sentinel
"Readers who like to get dirt under their nails will gladly follow the UT forensic anthropology team."--Publishers Weekly
"There's much to enjoy here..."--Kirkus Reviews

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