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


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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: 8.1 x 5.3 x 1.1 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: #838,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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It was well written & entertaining.
rachael botticelli
An interesting mix of classical greek figures, world leaders, inventors, explorers, hollywood celebrities and more.
W. Powell
I found this book in my dad's old books collection not too long ago, and its a good work to read.
Jason Voigt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 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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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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Format: Hardcover
This is a must-have on your bookshelf. From the famous to the infamous, here are the sad, surprising, strange, or sordid ends that have befallen well-known names from the past. The breadth is impressive for a small book, and there are a few names that may not be familiar. You'll receive a brief biography for each alphabetized entry and a summary of the events that led up to their death. Minor quibbles are lack of citations or references and a general tone of innuendo. It's not a classical historical reference, but rather a maudlin set of stories that would probably be difficult to track down yourself. And so it is all democratically minded, we will all go that-a-way...one day.
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Format: Hardcover
Malcolm Forbes was a very interesting figure indeed.
Great subject he has chosen to write, and he wrote it very lively and colorful.
The book has short biographies of many interesting figures in history, and describes the not-so-known-facts about how they died.
I used to read this book at bedtime, because its such a good way to go to sleep happily knowing that we all die and we should take care of us, each other and the whole world - as long as we live today, and not let ourselves get carried away about things we plan to do in the distant future.
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By Janice Hall on January 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a gift and the recipient appreciated and liked it very much. I don't know what else to write.
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