Death: The Scientific Facts to Help us Understand It Better

Richard B%C3%A9liveau and Denis Gingras. Firefly, $29.95 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-55407-996-4
Don't let fear of death quench the joy of living, biochemist Béliveau and oncologist Gingras (both of the University of Quebec) counsel. In this abundantly illustrated examination, the scientists hope to prove that "understanding the processes that lead to death helps us… to understand that death really is the only logical ending to existence." They explore the brain, the role of neurotransmitters, and what happens in a coma; religion; the belief in the promise of resurrection; grotesque forms of afterlife such as zombies; and aging, explaining how humans can slow down, though not suspend, the aging process. The authors investigate the many ways that humans die, including chronic disease and cancer; infections, both bacterial and viral; and poisons. Throughout, vibrant color images, charts, and sidebars highlight scientific details traditions such as embalming and the impact of death on different cultures. Béliveau and Gingras make death interesting with details on the puffer fish, beautiful micrographs such as the blod clot, and a brief study of the scent of death, trackable by bloodhounds. This volume encompasses far more, approaching a "coffee table book," however incongruous this might seem given the topic, and will interest a wide audience. Color illus. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 11/12/2012
Release date: 08/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
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