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Last Words of Notable People: Final Words of More Than 3500 Noteworthy People Throughout History Hardcover – September 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 671 pages
  • Publisher: Reference Desk Press (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976532522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976532521
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.4 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #593,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Some, such as Michelangelo’s or John Bunyan’s last words, sound like family or friends wrote them postmortem; some sound glib (murderer Gary Gilmore’s “Let’s do it”); some despairing (Freud’s “Now it’s nothing but torture and makes no sense anymore”); some cryptic (Smollett’s “All is well, my dear”); some cruelly ironic (Benazir Bhutto’s “Long live Bhutto!”); some fitting (aviation pioneer Georges Chavez’s “Higher. Always higher”); and some planned, such as Archbishop Laud’s more than 100 word public prayer before he was executed. The last words attributed to St. Paul, Rasputin, Oliver Cromwell, Judas Maccabaeus, and other notable historic figures are in dispute, with competing statements recorded, each with its sources cited in this compilation organized A–Z by the speakers’ names. Author Brahms (Notable Last Facts, 2005) honors 3,500-plus of them, introducing each with birth and death dates, a thumbnail biography, and notes about the circumstances in which the last words were written or uttered. In cases where two or more last utterances are attributed to an individual, they are labeled as “Variations” if they are similar, and “Different Last Words” if they are dissimilar. Quotations that are probably bogus are labeled as “Doubtful.” This collection is more eclectically international and includes more entries than Edward Le Comte’s Dictionary of Last Words (1955), with its American and European emphases. Because variant names appear as see references in the body of the book, the index by names verges on redundancy. Brahms provides interesting and sometimes informative final biographical tidbits from the mouths and pens of biblical figures and ancient authors through Frank Sinatra and John Denver. This specialty niche resource complements numerous biographical compendiums that focus on the lives of history’s notable kings, murderers, scientists, artists, politicians, preachers, and more. --James Rettig

About the Author

William B. Brahms was born in Camden, New Jersey and was raised and still lives in Haddon Township, New Jersey. He graduated as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Cap and Skull from Rutgers College with a B.A. and from Rutgers University Graduate School of Communication Information and Library Studies with an M.L.S. He has spent his entire career working in public libraries and publishing in New Jersey. Currently he manages and is Chief Librarian at the Camden County, New Jersey Library System. He is also President of Reference Desk Press, Inc. and has published seven books, including the major library reference works Notable Last Facts which was selected as an "Achievement in Publishing" in Booklist's 2005 Editor's Choice issue and Last Words of Notable People which was profiled in Kirkus author Q & A in Kirkus Reviews and featured in magazines including The Atlantic and Mental Floss. Last Words of Notable People reached the Amazon Bestsellers List -- Top 100 in December 2011, and was featured in the John Green (vlogbrothers - nerdfighters) video “Geeking Out Over Dying Declarations” (which received over 250,000 views). Brahms has also written several books on regional history. In particular, his books on Franklin Township, Somerset County, New Jersey (for which he was awarded the Author of the Year Award by the Marconi Foundation in Somerset, NJ) are standard sources for historical information on Franklin Township, where he served as official Township Historian for six years. These works include: Franklin Township Somerset County, NJ: A History, and Images of America: Franklin Township Brahms is also the official historian of several organizations where he has produced historical material that are basic reference works on those groups including the Cap and Skull Society. His book on the historic Westmont Theatre in Westmont, New Jersey is a tie-in to the film The Grand Old Lady directed by Brent J. Donaway; a film in which Brahms also appears. Brahms is also co-author of another title in the national Image of America series, Images of America: Haddon Township. about Haddon Township, New Jersey. He is listed in both Marquis Who’s Who in a America, and Who’s Who in the World. For more information visit the Reference Desk Press website. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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More About the Author

William B. Brahms (Bill) is best known for his research work on famous or "notable last facts" and famous or "notable last words," specifically the reference works Notable Last Facts (2005) and Last Words of Notable People (2010). He was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1966 (a distant relative of German composer Johannes Brahms). Bill attended public schools in Haddon Township, New Jersey before entering Rutgers College in 1985. At Rutgers he garnered departmental and general honors as well as being a Henry Rutgers Scholar (his thesis was a proposal for harmonizing intellectual property laws worldwide). For his leadership service to the Rutgers community, he was selected as High Skull of the prestigious Cap and Skull Society. Brahms was also awarded membership in Phi Beta Kappa, and was a member of the Delta Phi (St. Elmo) fraternity. He graduated with college honors in 1989 with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Music. Originally intent on a career in law, he entered Rutgers Law School in 1990. However, he soon discovered his true calling was librarianship and research. He entered the graduate program at Rutgers University Graduate School of Communication, Information and Library Studies (SCILS) where he graduated with an M.L.S. and a perfect 4.0 GPA, and was selected for membership in Beta Phi Mu. During and after graduation he worked at the South Brunswick, New Jersey Public Library; where in 1991, he worked with Michael Arnold on what was one of the pioneering searchable digitized historical photograph databases in a community library in the United States. From 1993 until 2004 Brahms worked at the Franklin Township Public Library in Somerset, New Jersey where he served as the Head of Reference. At Franklin, Brahms wrote his first three books including Images of America; Franklin Township (Arcadia, 1997; a photographic history of the township prior to the 1960s) and the large-scale work, Franklin Township, Somerset County, NJ: A History (FTPL, 1998; the first comprehensive work about this important New Jersey community). His work of Franklin Township history garnered him two commendations from the township and scholar/author award from the Marconi Foundation in Somerset. In 2000, he compiled The Cap and Skull Society of Rutgers College Centennial History and Biographical Directory (C&S Rutgers, 2000; the first written history of this important Rutgers group). In 2004, Brahms founded Reference Desk Press, Inc. a Haddonfield, NJ based publishing company dedicated to publishing books by librarians for librarians and supporting ecologically and economically smart publishing and library causes. Today Bill is a Chief Librarian (Branch Manager) of the administrative headquarters and largest branch ( M. Allan Vogelson Regional Branch / Voorhees Branch) of the Camden County Library System in Southern New Jersey. At Camden County he co-developed a retail-style storefront mall branch called Shelf Life and an innovative hi-tech self-contained teen library center called The Corner. In 2006, as part of an initiative to spur early library card registration he issued a library card to a child immediately after birth, undoubtedly the youngest library card holder in the world. Brahms has served on the advisory board of the New Jersey Digital Highway and is a member of several boards related to history, preservation and the arts, as well as being a member of numerous library and publishing associations and organizations. He is listed in both Marquis Who's Who in the World and Who's Who in America.

Customer Reviews

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Although this is a reference book, I have found it to be an entertaining and awesome read!
Rebecca
This book came in prime condition and it's a great addition to my small library of collected books.
Dakota
It never got put down a minute without someone picking it up and reading something out loud to us.
Tracey B.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ilona B on September 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was amazed, for starters, at how thick this book is. (Were we about to hear from some overly wordy deathbed figures?) But instead, it's a comprehensive resource, containing not only a wide array of notable characters' last utterances, but brief and well-written descriptions of who they were and how and when they died. The research appears to have been meticulous, including notes on instances in which the person's actual last words are in dispute. Not something I plan to read cover to cover, but fun to dip into. My personal favorite so far: The words of Henry Graham Greene, "Will it be an interesting experience? Will I find out what lies behind the barrier? Why does it take so long to come?"
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mikeala on December 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While I fear I may be unable to write a review as lovely as those before me, I can agree with them that this book is no where short of amazing. When John Green posted about this book earlier in December, I jumped at the chance without much thought behind it. When it arrived today (sooner than I had expected) I was surprised by the over all size of it-- it made me fear that I was about to read a long winded introduction that took up a quarter of the book (as I've had the experiance before) but as I opened the book and started my journey, I found a short and sweet introduction and 634 pages of my guilty plessure. Something I just found while flipping through that is just as pleasing, is that the pages are recycled! That must be the lovely book smell I have been.. well, smelling! All in all, there is nothing I regret about this buy. -DFTBA
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tracey B. on January 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book kept us entertained on Christmas more than the games! It never got put down a minute without someone picking it up and reading something out loud to us. Very interesting and my youngest son has already used it as a resource for a college term paper. I know it appears pricey but it is by far the best book of this quality I have seen. I looked at several and so glad I spent the extra money for this one. Also includes some historic facts about the individuals that are included.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By shar on January 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered this product for my daughter and she LOVED it! She is a huge John Green fan and this book is one he recommended saying it is one of his favorites. My daughter was anxious to see what the excitement was all about and after she received it, she couldn't stop talking about it. I can say, firsthand, that the service was perfect!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An excellent, exhaustive, well-referenced compendium. Hugely entertaining and fascinating read. Pick up some great one-liners and excellent stories for your next cocktail party.
Highly recommend, and in Kindle format it's more portable, and easily searchable. And an INCREDIBLE value!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca on January 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although this is a reference book, I have found it to be an entertaining and awesome read! The simple format makes it easy to find specific people, or just to read straight through. This book is definitely worth the price many times over!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Godel on December 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I just received this book this morning, and I have already skimmed through it for about 3 hours. It is a very detailed, comprehensive review of last words. I love that it includes a brief summary of who the person is, and what the circumstances of their death were. When there is any ambiguity about the last words of a certain person, all the known last words are listed. There is a source after every single entry, which has definitely added a few books to my to-read list. There is a great index in the back, even though the entries are in alphabetical order (in a dictionary-type format) so they are already easy to find. I keep opening the book onto a random page and reading the entries, and they are absolutely fascinating. This is a very comprehensive, guide, and the best one I have read so far.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You can't say they didn't do their research! Multiple accounts are given for each person. There are a lot of people in this book, some I've never heard of. I would say it satisfies interest in history more than morbid curiosity. This book is jam packed. This could be a good gateway into finding somebody you knew nothing about and learning of their importance in your own research.
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