Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds

A Five Star Pick

Gunther von Hagen's Body WorldsI don’t know how you may feel about human bodies being exposed after death, but this book just fascinates me every time I look at it.  I became obsessed with the book after I personally went to see the exhibit in 2007.  I fell in love with the show when it came to Montreal, so it was no surprise that I needed to take out the book when we received it at the library.  Gunther von Hagen’s work is tastefully done, but it just gives you a certain chill down your spine to know that the cadavers presented were individuals who very much wanted to contribute themselves to society in a way that would help people understand how the parts of human anatomy work.  This does benefit scientists, researchers and laymen by showing how organs, muscles and bones can be affected by diseases, as well as how they function to keep a person alive and well.  I personally felt great respect for these anonymous donors, who believed that their bodies could be kept “intact” or still somehow alive in some eerie way, even after death.  For the most part, the book is filled with these donor examples from the anatomical exhibition, but there are also essays in the back which discuss the certain viewpoints of different groups of people and the controversy surrounding the topic.  If you are sqeamish about seeing humans stripped of their skin or looking at exactly where your organs are located in the human body, then maybe this book isn’t for you—but I find this work an amazing opportunity to see the human body for what it really is: a representation of art.

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