Cover Image: Autopsy


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Member Reviews

I have always loved anything and everything about forensic pathology!  I’m a junkie for detective stories involving autopsies so I was really excited to get the behind-the-scenes look from someone that has performed thousands of autopsies.  Even though it may be a morbid subject to some, I thought this book was excellently written.  Ryan Blumenthal writes in an easy-to-understand way and his variety of stories kept my interest throughout.  I recommend this be added to your TBR if you are someone that is interested in this subject.
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I have had an interest in forensics and pathology for a long time and this book seemed right up my street. 

Autopsy is pitched at a really good level and is suitable for anyone with an interest in the subject. The narrative is conversational yet informative and further explanation and background is given, when necessary, without being patronising. The author also shares personal thoughts and viewpoints so I felt privileged, as the reader, to be given such insights. All in all an excellent read.
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I really enjoy reading accounts/memoirs about various careers, written by the people who have become experts in their field. This book was incredibly interesting, well written and intense, emotional, and funny at times. A great read.
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I love weird, somewhat morbid books from, the point of view of doctors, emt's, and morticians, and I adored this novel. It does a good job of being easily digestible for anyone who reads it despite its sceintific terms, and the author takes good care to help educate their readers. I loved the insight it provided into the author's life, and how it expanded on larger issues related to death. For fans of the weird and macabre, this is a must read.
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The information is delivered in a simple easy to understand manner, despite the fact that scientific terminology is used throughout the book. While the book is mostly focused on Forensic Path0ology in Africa there is good delivery of general information one would need to know about Forensic Pathology world-wide.

Most of the information is given in a frank simple manner but there are instances where the author injects a bit of their personality and personal experiences into the book. I think that made the read more gripping and easier to continue.
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A really interesting insight into this field! Well written and some great stories. Would definitely recommend! 4 stars.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book for an honest review.

Ryan Blumenthals is a forensic pathologist who's goal is to help bring the bad guys to justice.

Per the synopsis on Goodreads "In his book he covers the hard lessons learnt as a rookie pathologist, as well as some of the most unusual cases he encountered."

This is my first nonfiction in a VERY LONG TIME and I must say I enjoyed myself. Did I love it? No but I cannot deny it was interesting and the fact that Ryan discussed particular cases that have occurred in Africa made it very unique because some of these cases dealt with the particular ecosystem within Africa. Some of these cases were very bizarre.

It was also interesting to see the perspective of a forensic pathologist in Africa. He discusses the struggles he has had when performing autopsies due to lack of resources. It was intriguing to see how savvy one has to become when there is lack of resources-something as simple as access to water can become a problem in non developed countries. 

While I did enjoy myself I did find myself wanting more. I found each case to be brief and to the point and majority of the time I wanted more detail on the particular case. When I read a nonfiction book I am expecting to read more in depth material and I feel like that is something that just lacked in this book.

Another thing that did cross my mind frequently while reading is that the writing seemed a bit all over the place. There didn't seem to be a good transition between topics. Normally I am not very analytical with what I read. I tend to rate based off my enjoyment level. However, since all the topics felt abrupt and some things seemed to come out of nowhere; it kind of threw me off sometimes.

All in all It was a good read and it kept my attention. He discusses some pretty unique cases and perspectives. So if this is something that interest you, I say give it a go.
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I do hope this went through another round of editing before publication. There were some good stories, but a lot of swinging back and forth between extended explanations and confusing terminology. There was also a *lot* of fragmented paragraphs and jumping between subjects.
Thank you to Jonathan Ball Publishers and NetGalley for the ARC.
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When I went into this book, I was really looking forward to reading more about autopsies and the science behind them. I was especially excited to read about being in South Africa, how different they would be compared to what I have read about autopsies in the UK or USA. 
I feel quite let down by this book, I am fascinated by the process and love to learn more about them and whilst there are some interesting facts sprinkled throughout, mostly I found that the author was condescending and very preachy. I also found that with the stories of the autopsies he would start to tell us how someone came to be on his table for him to work on but then it would end with little information shared. It sometimes was quite contradictory and he was very pompous about the fact he could do his job where not many people can. What I also didn’t enjoy was that some of the paragraphs did not seem to flow well either, but this could have been amended with better editing. 
The last section of the book was the worst and just made me dislike this book even more. Again, more preaching about how people should live their lives to be deemed as ‘innocent’ enough for him to want to help. There are a complete 10 steps about what you shouldn’t do i.e., drink, smoke, ride motorcycles etc which did not fit in with the book at all for me. 
Overall, some nice titbits about the autopsy process in South Africa and the varieties of ways that people end up on his table, but I did not enjoy the book in its entirety, and I cannot get over how abruptly it ended with him complaining that his job will eventually be taken over by robots? 
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Jonathan Ball Publishers to review Autopsy: Life in the Trenches with a Forensic Pathologist in Africa by Ryan Blumenthal. I have given this book three out of five stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was a very interesting book, like no other I’ve read before.

I’ve definitely learnt a few interesting facts from reading this book, which I hope stick with me for a long time, so I can pass this knowledge onto others, for example, (gruesome detail incoming).. after believing a lot of people when they say that your nails and hair continue growing once you pass, I have found out that it’s actually due to your skin shrinking which makes it appear that your nails and hair are growing, when really it’s the complete opposite reason. Once I read over this part of the book, I instantly shuddered and had a number of moments just like this one over the course of reading this book as well. It’s very fascinating to learn about the human body and understand it differently especially when this isn’t your line of work.

Disturbing, detailed deaths and autopsies with dry humour. I’ve realised you need to be a certain type of person in order to be a forensic pathologist from reading this book, the smells, sights and everything else in between can be pretty hard and challenging to deal with. No matter how interested I am regarding autopsies and what forensic pathologists do, I don’t think I could do that job.

Ryan Blumenthal has been a part of and seen a lot of disturbing events in his life, I have to thank and applaud this man for allowing us to see into a forensic pathologists job and to see how challenging it can be. This book will definitely stay with me for quite a while..

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in forensic pathology and for an audience who aren’t faint-hearted when it comes to descriptions about deaths and autopsies.
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When I first saw the description of this I was hoping it would be in the same vein as Mary Manheim's books, or "The Coroner's Journal", which I read in high school and re-read as an adult because it fascinated me. The author is a forensic pathologist in South Africa (if that wasn't obvious from the title) and he does have some interesting stories, and I learned a lot from reading the first 2/3 of the book. Some of it was a little too gorey for my stomach, but that's to be expected when you're talking about dead bodies. It seemed a little all over the place though. Like there was no real structure and he was just talking in one long stream of consciousness, and that only got worse the further in the book I got. All in all, it was an okay read.
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When I started reading this book, I wasn't sure if I wanted to finish it, because it wasn't what I thought it was going to be like. But I'm glad I didn't give up.
The author doesn't just relate autopsy stories, he gives insight into the system; the difficulties they face; the fact that things are not always as they appear on TV, whilst also relating incidents in his career that intrigued him.
Being a fellow South African I could relate to some of the issues that he raised about working conditions - lack of power/water/labour as its a reality all of us face. And I think something that First World countries can't believe actually happen and possibly consider fiction.
I found his 10 "rules" for a longer life very interesting and very valuable and true.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me to read this book.
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Autopsy: Life In The Trenches With A Forensic Pathologist In Africa is a fascinating layman accessible memoir by Dr. Ryan Blumenthal relating some of his experiences as a forensic pathologist. Released 13th April 2021 by Jonathan Ball Publishers, it's 224 pages and is available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. 

This is a well written and absorbing glimpse inside the working life of a forensic pathologist. Dr. Blumenthal has a conversational style of writing which is humorously entertaining and yet respectful and serious. He writes at length about different causes of death, the process of autopsy, deducing whether a death is suicide or homicide, and much more. 

I'm a bioengineer working in a histopathology lab, so much of what he writes about is my regular "day job". I was quite impressed at his facility whilst explaining complex concepts in simple, scientifically correct ways, which allow readers without any medical background to easily process what he's talking about.

He's a renowned specialist in lightning strikes and deaths due to electrocution and he goes into detail in the book about the fascinating elements common to death-by-lightning, including veterinary autopsies on a rare antelope species on which he consulted. 

Four stars. There are some photos and illustrations in the book, but happily nothing shocking or horrifying at all. I found the entire book upbeat and positive and very very interesting. This would make a good selection for library acquisition and for readers of science and nonfiction. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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This book was sent to me as an ARC on NetGalley. However all opinions are of my own.
This book took me a while to read because of the medical jargon - however, I found it very informative and detailed. It was interesting and precise. It also highlights the importance of situations and how we definitely have a lack of forensic pathologists.
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I was so excited to read this book because I love forensic pathology and medical memoir-type books. 

But almost immediately I was cringing and often. I found Blumenthal to be lacking compassion and empathy for anyone that wasn't "innocent" enough for him to treat. 

According to him, he only got in medicine to help the "innocent." Innocent being defined as someone who does everything right -- not a smoker or drinker, someone eats healthy and exercises, and so on. 

Yet, the author views himself as a compassionate and caring person. Which is just, honestly, confusing. 

In the win column, I did really find the forensic pathology content fascinating but the lack of compassion really ruined it for me. There are plenty of other books on similar topics one could read but as I like to read a diverse range of authors and stories, I was excited to read this one – especially coming from an African perspective.

I think this book could have been handled with a stronger editor (or an editor at all – I'm not sure if there was one). Sometimes, the author rambled too much and sometimes they didn't explain things for the everyday layman.
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I finished this book thinking that Blumenthal is very well-suited to a career in forensic pathology where the majority of the people he interacts with are dead. It is an interesting book with lots of geeky clinical detail but he is too judgemental about the health decisions people make. It put me off.
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This book was just fascinating! I love the look into the world of autopsies and could not put it down once I had picked it up due to complete morbid fascination.
This book is written so well with amazing clarity and detail that everyone should read it if this is one of their interests.
I am fascinated by this sort of world and job, and it really just heightened my interest which is exactly what I’d hoped! A really good non fiction to get stuck into - you won’t regret it!
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This book wasn't really what I was expecting. I thought the author might give a general overview of his job as a Forensic Pathologist and then focus more and go into detail with the more unusual cases that he has worked on that are not likely to happen in other countries, such as death by hippopotamus. Instead, I felt the book gave an overview of everything with no real depth. I wanted more than surface level information. And whilst the author did talk about the differences between his job in South Africa and those of his European and American colleagues with regards to facilities and equipment, it came across as more of a complain and a moan rather than explaining how that impacts his job and how he finds ways around those barriers. The book also felt at times like the author completely forgot what he was writing about and just went off in another direction. The links between topics probably made sense to him but as a reader it felt very disjointed. 
And I don't even know what happened at the end, it just suddenly turned to preachy advice about how we should all live our lives the healthiest way possible with no bad habits so that doctors don't have to treat us for self inflicted ailments. Which to be honest, I do agree with but there's a time and a place for that and this book wasn't the time nor the place.
There were some really interesting tidbits in there that saved the book from flopping entirely, I just really, really wish the author had focused more on those. I really wanted to love this book and was so excited to read it but unfortunately it won't be a book I'll find myself recommending to others.
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Brilliant read. Took me a little while to get into in but once it clicked I was away! 
Such a page Turner interesting cases, and how they deal with different challenges 
I really enjoyed this book
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Fascinating look at the different encounters with diseases and conditions from a pathologist in Africa. At times a little repetitive, on the whole I found it readable and mesmerizing
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