Cheney, Annie

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HomeNew York, NY.


Freelance journalist.


Deadline Club Award for Best Feature Reporting, Society of Professional Journalists, 2005, for article "The Resurrection Men: Scenes from the Cadaver Trade."


Body Brokers: Inside America's Underground Trade in Human Remains, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including Harper's and My Generation. Contributor of stories to program All Things Considered, National Public Radio.


After winning an award in 2004 for an article she had written for Harper's magazine, Annie Cheney expanded her report into the book Body Brokers: Inside America's Underground Trade in Human Remains. An exposé of the illegal trade of human body parts in the medical field, this shocking work reveals how unscrupulous professionals at medical schools, hospitals, funeral homes, and mortuaries often profit by selling cadaver parts. This is often done whether or not family members have offered to donate their loved ones' bodies to medical science. Even when a family consents to donating a body, they are led to believe their generosity is done on a not-forprofit basis to further scientific research. Not so, writes Cheney, who explains that there is such a high demand for body parts that the temptation proves too great for some people, such as hospital workers and morticians. Cheney, who provides a history of this illegal practice back to the nineteenth century, offers a number of modern-day cases to prove her point. Some of these, such as the discovery that actor Alistair Cooke's legs had been sold for a profit, have been profiled in the news. There have been many more cases that have never made the newspapers, however. Reviewers, such as Booklist contributor Donna Chavez, repeated the sentiment that Body Brokers "is a chilling expose of the grisly industry of body trading." Although a Publishers Weekly critic felt that the author sometimes descends into melodramatic prose, the reviewer concluded that "Cheney reveals a disturbing medical underworld that deserves attention."



Booklist, March 1, 2006, Donna Chavez, review of Body Brokers: Inside America's Underground Trade in Human Remains, p. 53.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2006, review of Body Brokers, p. 69.

New York, April 3, 2006, Boris Kachka, "Bodies of Evidence: A New Book on an Old—and Entirely Disgusting—Criminal Practice," p. 74.

New York Times, March 26, 2006, Mary Roach, "Ring Up Your Dead."

Publishers Weekly, January 30, 2006, review of Body Brokers, p. 54.

Washington Post, March 9, 2004, Peter Carlson, "Hey, Professor, Assimilate This," p. C1.


CNN Web site, (March 14, 2004), interview with Cheney., (March 12, 2006), Elizabeth Corcoran, "When the Dead Do Not Rest in Peace: A Journalist Unveils a Thriving Industry in Human Remains.", (July 27, 2006), Tom Snyders, review of Body Brokers. *