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They Went That-A-Way: How the Famous, the Infamous, and the Great Died Paperback – October 14, 1989

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

More fun and games from Chairman Malcolm, a master of the short take in his magazine (Forbes) and books (Fact and Comment, The Further Savings of Chairman Malcolm). This time it's 150 capsule biographies, each based on how the subject died. Died? Yes, died. In alphabetical orderhandy for trivia quarrelswe learn that Alexander the Great and Sen. Joe McCarthy were done in by drink, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin OD'd on fame and drugs, actor James Dean and Gen. George Patton each got it from an oncoming vehicle, George (Superman) Reeves and Ernest Hemingway shot themselves. Saint Lawrence was roasted, Sir Walter Raleigh beheaded, Wild Bill Hickok shot in the back, French revolutionist Marat stabbed in his bath. The Roman historian Pliny died under fire from Mt. Vesuvius, Rasputin was poisoned, shot, beaten and drowned. Rich man Alfred Lowenstein fell from an airplane. This macabre parade, written with freelancer Bloch, is undeniably fascinating, and the bottom-heavy (so to speak) profiles are entertaining and informative. Preferred Choice Bookplan alternate.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (October 14, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345362500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345362506
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,021,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. Barnes on November 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I passed up this book at a bookstore thousands of times, but finally took it off the shelf and saw the very fine print of the subtitle: "How the famous, the infamous and the great died". Not the topic I had expected! I love trivia, so my interest was piqued.
From the dust-jacket flap:
"Here, for your entrancement and enlightenment, are exits made by 175 people famous during the past 3,000 years".

The book covers people from John Jacob Astor IV to 'Mama' Cass Elliot and Ivan the Terrible to Virginia Woolf. Don't know who the person was? Forbes does briefly discuss how the person became famous (or infamous) and sometimes adds in some deliciously odd twists that occurred during the person's life. He then, of course, tells you about their (often) bizarre or ironic deaths.

Forbes speaks in language that is colorful and he keeps you so interested that you want to read it from front to back even though you could really pick up the book and turn to any page to learn something that you didn't know before. I enjoyed it immensely.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. Barrett on June 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
They Went That A-Way is a collection of over 150 1-2 page sketches of famous personalities, mostly from the 19th and 20th centuries. Each sketch contains a short summary of the person's life and accomplishments, then a description of how they met their end. The book is well done, however I found it a little depressing, as the majority of the personalities were dysfunctional, dying from alcoholism, drugs, or suicide.
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Format: Hardcover
They Went That-A-Way, Forbe

Malcolm Forbes is the editor-in-chief of `Forbes' magazine. He served in the US Army during WW II and earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Jeff Bloch is writer and former reporter for `Forbes' magazine. This 329 page book from 1988 provides a short account of the death of 175 people who were famous for one reason or another over the last 3,000 years. Why should you read this book? For the same reason you browse the weekly tabloids at a supermarket checkout counter or watch "reality TV". The names are listed in alphabetic order in the `Contents' and the `Index'. They don't say how they selected these people. I will list a few of the names.

) Saint Thomas Aquinas is the most important theologian and philosopher in the Roman Catholic church. He was hurt on a journey to meet the Pope and died in a nearby abbey in 1274.
) Bobby Driscoll became a child star for Walt Disney. He got hooked on drugs and became unemployable. He was found dead in 1968, another homeless junkie.
) William C. Durant bought independent car makers to create General Motors in 1908, and later started Chevrolet. He sold his holdings after the 1929 crash. A series of strokes led to his death.
) James Garfield was the compromise Republican candidate for President in 1880. He was murdered by a disappointed office-seeker. This led to civil service reform.
) Ulysses S. Grant has one of the most corrupt presidencies. Bad investments caused a loss of his fortune. To support his wife and children he began to write his memoirs before he died of throat cancer .
) Alexander Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury. He insulted Aaron Burr in a dinner party conversation that was published, and was challenged to a duel. Hamilton's apology was not accepted.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rachael botticelli on January 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was a compilation of how people died & there epitaphs. It was well written & entertaining. I would recommend this book & just wish it wasn't so hard to find
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on June 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was recommended by a friend so I purchased it for our school library. Many students love to read trivia books and the more bizarre the better.
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By Jason Voigt on January 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I found this book in my dad's old books collection not too long ago, and its a good work to read. It introduced me to such personalities such as Primmie Niven, Carole Lombard and Huey Long (hey, I'm 23 they were way before my time). Forbes gives great detail and he makes death look interesting, not something to be look forward to. I can tell he had fun writing and researching this book and if Malcolm were alive today I'm sure someone would write a sequel to this book. Perhaps the sequel would have Princess Di (another monarchy figure), Kurt Cobain (Jimi and Jim of the 90s), Dr. Atkins (the so-called revolutionary diet hero dies from a fall) and maybe Malcolm himself. I always read at least one or two biographies in the book before I go to bed.
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