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How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous Hardcover – March 15, 2011
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“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
Top Customer Reviews
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!Read more ›
'How They Croaked' goes further than just describing the "How" of the way some famous folks' lives ended -- there's also quite a bit of insight into some of the other medical issues they fought. And it doesn't just end at death... the book also reveals some surprising stories about missing body parts, thievery, etc. I learned quite a bit having it read aloud from the backseat during a roadtrip! Note: The book doesn't mince words when it comes to slicing, dicing and decomposing, so you can also expect this to lead to more conversations about anatomy, etc. Heed the notice at the beginning that says "If you don't have the guts for gore, do not read this book."
The publisher listed the book as appropriate for ages 10 to 14, but even at 8, my daughter was okay with it. YMMV. You'll definitely get used to hearing "Ewwwwww! Hey, did you know __________?"
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just plain weird. Great for the reader with an appreciation of the macabre (like me). Good bathroom reading.Published 3 months ago by AB
Very fun and informative book to read. It was a gift for my son because he is fascinated with science and prefers to hear the facts about all aspects of life.Published 4 months ago by Ginger T.
Delightfully engaging look at people we all know. The kids will love all of the stories, but there is a special place in my heart for the absolute disgust that readers will enjoy... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Lisa Lou
A lot of fun to read. Very informative and entertaining. I read this to my intelligent 7 year old son. Though morbid,it really kept his interest.Published 9 months ago by Kimberly Smith