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How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous Hardcover – March 15, 2011


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How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous + How They Choked: Failures, Flops, and Flaws of the Awfully Famous
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 8
  • Lexile Measure: 950L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Childrens (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802798179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802798176
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 7.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* From George �Little Mouth of Horrors� Washington to Marie �You Glow, Girl� Curie, Bragg chronicles with ghoulish glee the chronic or fatal maladies that afflicted 19 historical figures. Nonsqueamish readers will be entranced by her riveting descriptions of King Tut�s mummification (and the brutal treatment that mummy has received in modern times); the thoroughly septic �doctoring� that hastened or at least contributed to the deaths of Mozart, Napoleon, James A. Garfield, and others; the literal dissolution of Henry VIII�s body (�While lying in state, it is believed that his toxic remains exploded, and some of his royal splendidness dripped out the sides of the coffin overnight�); and the outrageous fates of Einstein�s brain, Galileo�s fingers, and other coroners� souvenirs. The author tucks quick notes on at least marginally relevant topics, such as leeching, scurvy, presidential assassins, and mummy eyes (�If mummy eyeballs are rehydrated, they return to almost normal size�), between the chapters and closes with generous lists of nontechnical print resources on each of her subjects. O�Malley�s cartoon portraits and spot art add just the right notes of humor to keep the contents from becoming too gross. Usually. Despite occasional farfetched claims�it�s hard to believe that Charles Darwin puked four million times, even though he was fanatical about keeping personal health records�this all-too-informative study deserves the wild popularity it will without doubt acquire. Grades 5-8. --John Peters

Review

"O’Malley’s cartoon portraits and spot art add just the right notes of humor to keep the contents from becoming too gross. This all-too-informative study deserves the wild popularity it will without doubt acquire." – Booklist, starred review

"The most reluctant of readers will find it difficult to resist this consistently disgusting chronicle of the gruesome deaths of 19 will famous people. Bragg's informal, conversational style and O'Malley's cartoon illustrations complement the flippant approach to the subject; the energetically icky design includes little skulls and crossbones to contain page numbers. Engaging, informative and downright disgusting." - Kirkus
 
"Bragg holds forth on nineteen Big Names whose demises have raised eyebrows, questions, and probably a few lunches... Carried away on a swift-flowing stream of body fluids, medical ineptitude, and O’Malley’s deliciously snarky artwork, kids will agree they got exactly what they came for." – BCCB

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Customer Reviews

As an adult, I had so much fun reading this book.
A. Pohren
I loved this book I learned things about the people in the book that I had never heard before.
Nan C
I saw my grandson reading this book and it looked good.
atwendt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Grange on July 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I debated for quite some time about whether to read this book. There is after all a warning at the beginning that the book contains "the blood, sweat, and guts of real people." And I've never been one for grossness. But in the end I decided that in order to share it with my students, many of whom I knew would be fascinated by this book, I needed to read it.

This book specifically looks at the lives (briefly) and unpleasant 'ends' of some of the worlds most famous people. Included are King Tut, Cleopatra, Henry VIII, Pocahontas, George Washington, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Darwin, etc. I confess that I didn't really expect to learn anything new. I love history and most of the people Bragg talks about are well-known. But I did learn things that surprised me. For example, I had no idea that Charles Dickens struggled with mental illness or that Albert Einstein's brain was stolen from his body before it was cremated. And I seriously had to wince reading the details of Christopher Columbus's numerous physical maladies.

This books is definitely not for the squeamish, but Bragg's light-hearted take on the subject keeps things moving while convincing the modern reader to be very grateful for modern medicine. For example, George Washington came down with what modern doctor's think was a throat infection that today could be cured by antibiotics. But his doctors used the following 'remedies,' bloodletting (numerous times, they took over a third of his blood), blister-beetle treatment (you don't want to know!), a dose of calomel (contains mercury, which is highly poisonous, tartar emetic (to make him vomit), and a variety of different poultices. No wonder he died!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Burns on April 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered this for my 10 year old grandson - he is very interested in history, and reads well above his greade level.

He loved it, and I did, also. Some of the double entendres were lost on him, but I caught them. Regardless, he has thoroughly enjoyed this book, and has taken some of the information contained therein back to his classroom.

This is a wonderful book for a child with a keen sense of humor and an understanding of "then" and "now".

This is also a wonderful book for parents and grandparents who want a little education and a lot of laughs.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By margrose on June 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My almost 9-year-old twin granddaughters fought over this book and my eight-year-old grandson would not put it down even while dining out. I showed it to friends in my bridge group and one ordered it for her 28-year-old grandson. Never have I read a more fun book chock full of good information that shows the writer's thorough research. Every adult should read this book. The children enjoyed the illustrations, particularly the one of Henry VIII.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By atwendt on June 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I saw my grandson reading this book and it looked good. So much so, I did not want to wait for him to finish so I bought my own copy. It is a bit gory in parts as you might expect from the title but kids like that kind of thing. So far, it has been a fun, easy read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By kitt on June 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I couldn't put it down. It would be great if Ms Bragg would write another book with other famous people!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By F. dougherty on June 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My Nine year old has read this book at least five times and still grabs it off the shelf when she is looking for something. It is broken down into essays about each person with interesting trivia and facts about the famous. Adults will learn something too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Samantha McManus on May 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
What do Cleopatra, Albert Einstein, Mozart, and Edgar Allan Poe have in common? If you guessed that they are dead, you are absolutely correct! If you guessed that they died in really gruesome, gross, bizarre ways, you win a cookie! Not that you'll want to eat a cookie after reading this book, unless you are just weird like that. Georgia Bragg does a stellar job of telling us how 19 "awfully famous" folks met their really "awful ends" in this admittedly cool book. The sad thing is most of these famous people could have probably lived longer, better, healthier lives and done even greater (or worse in the case of Napoleon and a few others) things if only they had been born in modern times. Most of these folks could have been cured of their diseases with a simple round of antibiotics or at least not been bled to death with leeches, razors, and poisonous insects! (Yes, really!) The black and white illustrations by Kevin O'Malley add a special touch as do the facts scattered throughout the book about everything from how mummies are made to how many presidents died on July 4th. Book includes a list of sources, including internet sites, and a comprehensive index. Grades 5 and up will love reading about these famous folks and the gross ways they died. At the very least, they'll learn that it really is important to wash your hands!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Djs on January 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I borrowed the book initially from my ten year old grand daughter. I found it so fascinating that I wanted my own copy. This was informative and written with humor. I loved it enough to want my own copy for future reference.
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