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Proust's Last Beer: A History of Curious Demises Paperback – August 1, 1980

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"Sick in the Head" by Judd Apatow
Browse more stories and memoirs from funny people.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (August 28, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140050221
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140050226
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,675,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born in Washington, D.C., in 1947, graduated from Montgomery Blair High School in 1965 and then Beloit College in 1969, and then tried to make it producing my epic dramatic poem history of the Ford Motor Company. A reviewer in Boston After Dark hailed it as a "fascinating failure." Then I worked for the Federal government's American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, leaked documents to Jeremy Rifkin's People's Bicentennial Commission, wrote a story for the Washington Post Magazine about leaking documents, and then began a career as a freelance writer. I specialized in humor, out of which grew Proust's Last Beer: a History of Curious Demises, and history, out of the which grew Through A Fiery Trial: Building Washington 1790-1800. I also did commentaries on historical topics for NPR's Morning Edition for a couple years. I wrote a manuscript on Benjamin Rush and the yellow fever epidemics of the 1790s but could not find a publisher. In 1994 I left Washington for an island in the St. Lawrence River. I write about beavers and otters, especially, and have continued writing web articles on Washington History, expanding on my research on the use of slaves in building the early city, which i expanded again in my book Slave Labor in the Capital: Building Washington's Iconic Federal Landmarks. You can find links to web pages on mammals, yellow fever, my Ford Motor Company poem, and Washington history at www.bobarnebeck.com

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
I'm surprised I'm the first person to review this book. It's an entertaining look at a very specialized aspect of history--how people met their timely--or perhaps, untimely ends. Actually, it's a great idea, and I'm surprised no-one thought of it before.

Some of the people are famous, including presidents, famous scientists, writers, composers and artists, and so on. Others are more obscure. In fact, there were more names I didn't recognize than those I did, but then I'm not a historian. (But then, how many Americans remember anything about Zachary Taylor, who's mentioned in the book, and he was president).

Some of the demises are funny, others are sad, and others are merely odd or interesting. The book covers hundreds of people, and the entries range from a few sentences to several paragraphs, depending on how complicated the events leading up to the person's death were, or how involved the death itself was. (After reading this book, I can only hope for a simple, uncomplicated death, lest someone think it worthy of being immortalized. In any case, I'm not that artistically creative, so hopefully the manner of my death won't be the one place where I succeed in doing something remarkably inventive or different. :-)

There are so many people, both famous and obscure, here, that it was almost too many to absorb for my taste, but you could just look up the people you're interested in and read the book like that. Then branch out into the more obscure names later, some of whom had deaths far more notable than their accomplishments in real life. And some of the most famous people died quite ordinary, mundane, and fairly boring deaths. (Of course, trying to die a more exciting death conjures up some very odd fantasies, at least for me :-)).

The book is well-written and fun to read, and if more history books were as entertaining as this one, more people would read it.
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By martha murray on August 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
entertaining read I like to just flip through and see what story pops up always good for a laugh, ya.
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