Beyond The Body Farm by Dr Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson

Synopsis: A pioneer in forensic anthropology, Dr Bill Bass created the world’s first laboratory dedicated to the study of human decomposition; three acres of land where human bodies are exposed to the elements. His research at the ‘Body Farm’ has revolutionised forensic science, helping to crack cold cases and pinpoint time of death.

During a career that spans half a century, Bass and his work have ranged far beyond the gates of the Body Farm. Such as reassembling - from battered torsos and a stack of severed limbs - eleven people hurled skyward by an explosion at an illegal fireworks factory, and extracting DNA from a long-buried corpse, only to find that the female murder victim may have been mistakenly identified twenty-five years before. 

In Beyond The Body Farm, Dr Bill Bass explored the rise of modern forensic science, using fascinating cases from his career to take readers into the real world of C.S.I.

Opinion: This is a really interesting book which covers many different aspects of modern forensic science - such as anthropology, entomology, DNA technology and forensic art - in a series of anecdotal examples from Bass’ career. The variety in the book is good; the cases range from murder to plane crashes to explosions to more archaeological cases involving ancient remains. There is also a glossary of anthropology and forensic terms, including anthropological diagrams, for those who may be less familiar with the terminology. The cases are accompanied by photographs and other case materials which really help to enhance the anecdotes. I really enjoyed the personal style of the writing and the high level of detail and forensic accuracy throughout.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis taken from book cover. Image from waterstones.com

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