Free «Book Report: "Dead Men Do Tell Tales"» Essay Sample

Book Report:

Table of Contents

  1. Critique
  2. Related Analysis essays

Book called Dead Men Do Tell Tales was written by Dr. William Maples. He was born in Texas City, Dallas, on August 7, 1937. His father was a banker and died of cancer when Maples was only eleven years old. William’s father was tough enough and strict when it came to school moral. His grandfather was a preacher at Methodist church. Maples liked reading books, magazines, and Saturday’s evening post. He was an expertise in the field of the human skeleton (bones). At a tender age, he had a feeling of humanity; he always wanted to see the facts of human existence in real life. All his life, he was curious of death, what it is and how it happens. He reviews strange, interesting, and the most horrific forensic anthropology investigations he has ever done. His book shows how forensic scientist’s data are used to ascertain the truth about how the victim died. He was working at the Pound Human Identification Laboratory at the Florida Museums of Natural History. Maple’s book has many chapters covering different episodes in his career. When he was young, he studied baboons in Kenya until switching his career to identifying murdering weapons.

Forensic anthropology implies the use of the sub-field of science technology in a legal matter of the law court. Most used fields are military, Federal Bureau of Investigations, and Crime Investigations Agency depending on criminal cases. Most often they resort to social biology and physical anthropology where the victim’s remains are at the advanced stages of decomposition. It usualyl requires detailed work that take days, months, and even years when the identity is unknown. Maples used to help recognize the deceased persons whose remnants were decomposed, burned beyond recognition, mutilated or otherwise unrecognizable. For example, a forensic anthropologist used to determine skeletal human remnants found underneath scrub in Western Australia, 1900–1910.

Remember! This is just a sample
You can get your custom paper by one of our expert writers
Get custom essay

For many years, science technology for forensics discipline has developed from a nearly non-understandable traditional art into a new modern science, from the traditional approach of finger printing in the early 1800 and 1900s to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) gene matching method of today. Currently, forensic pathology and anthropology is used in criminal law worldwide. In Dead Men Do Tell Tales, Dr. William Maples uses experimental method applied to the mutilated and those who were dumped in septic tanks to rot and purify in the other detritus of man’s remains.

Maples started his career in college. His mentor asked him to take a course of anthropology survey. Maples was not sure if the program was good for him but later decided to continue with the program. He learned how to look at mangled bodies, recognize and see bones. He discovered sound and useful techniques for testing bone samples. In his mind, forensic anthropology was lifeless, a cut and dried course. However, he was fully engaged in his cases. 

He describes how he treated the remains of the burnt and cremains offered to him. In the book, he describes how he did his work and what he was looking for in the cases presented to him. He also gives guides on how to think and search for additional hints and information concerning cases he dealt with. In his life and career, Maples experienced difficult, completely baffling and interesting case. He used to examine bone and tissue samples such as skeletons, skulls, and mere fragments of burnt thighbones to deduce a person’s age, gender, cause of death,  and tribe of a killer victim, the manner in which the person dispatched, and ultimately, the identity of the killer among others.

We will write
a custom essay
specifically for you
Get your first paper with
15% OFF
Learn More

Maples was courageous; for example, he used to testify in very serious cases of murder trial while the killer stared at him with bad eyes. Dr. Maples did it keeping in mind that the acquitted killer might seek revenge. Due to his courage, he was called to testify and answer historian's question about angry slaveholders who poisoned President Zachary Taylor in 1850. Without fear, he did an investigation of bones of the famous Russia's Tzar Nicholas II and his family murder. Those who murdered them thought that their crime would remain hidden forever. However, sixty years later, Maples made investigations and used Tzar Nicholas II and his family’s bones only to identify Bolsheviks who were assassins. Thus, Maples’ investigations show that forensic anthropology can resolve historical riddles and chase away casualties that have bedeviled people for many years. He also carried out an investigation of the skeletons of the Elephant Man who was serviceman in Vietnam. Also, he studied the case of the 12th president of the United States of America Zachary Taylor to determine whether he was poisoned with arsenic poison or whether it was a natural death. Maples was trusted; he wanted justice to be followed when investigating his cases.

We will write a custom essay on your topic
0 writers online
Learn More

From the book, we realize that Dr. Maples is proud of what he does; also, he appreciates his wife for supporting him and working on self-employment as a media specialist. He expressed profound respect and sympathy for the dead but stressed that he puts his emotions to the side while investigating. Maples’ life had many illusions; for example, he had daily dreams of flitting images during his work.

He teaches graduate students at the University of Florida. He teaches them to investigate death and dispel the truth from the shadows surrounding murder and suicide, because the innocent have died unavenged, and criminals have escaped unpunished. Also, research lacked understanding, skills, and persistence to reach with both hands into the rotting remains of some dreadful crimes, explore the bones, and reveal the truth that lies at the center of it all. 


In some chapters of the book, Maples was irritated and pretentious, because he had a tendency of pointing out how smart and brilliant he was. If the problem occurs while at work, he points the finger to other without accepting his fault. He is also a sexist showing no respect to his wife at times. He avoided euphemisms in his work by using vivid language to repulse squeamish readers.