Written in Bone

Written in Bone: Hidden Stories in What We Leave Behind

Written in Bone: Hidden Stories in What We Leave Behind
Sue Black

Professor Dame Sue Black has written what I would consider a definitive book on forensic anthropology. I did an internet search for a solid definition of what forensic anthropology is and I was surprised with the number of slightly different descriptions, but I think this is the best one: “the branch of physical anthropology in which anthropological data, criteria, and techniques are used to determine the sex, age, genetic population, or parentage of skeletal or biological materials in questions of civil or criminal law.”

But Written in Bone is more than that; I found it to be a mixture of forensic anthropology with human anatomy and physiology. Each chapter is devoted to a different bone structure, such as the skull, the spine, etc., with a thorough discussion of the anatomical part of the body being illustrated. She presents examples of how each body part can tell a story with the hope there is enough of a narrative to assist law enforcement.

This book is not for the squeamish as death is sometimes messy. There is also a personal story from Dame Sue Black, which some readers may find very distressful.

As someone who really enjoys anatomy and physiology, I loved Dame Sue Black’s discussion of each major body part and how deftly she was able to relate the stories to actual forensic cases.

I would recommend this book for anyone interested in anatomy, especially skeletal anatomy and those readers who are interested in forensics.

4/5 stars

[Thank you to NetGalley and the author for the advanced ebook copy in exchange for my honest and objective opinion which I have given here.]

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