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Last Words of Notable People: Final Words of More than 3500 Noteworthy People Throughout History Paperback – October 21, 2012
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From the Inside Flap
William B. Brahms began accumulating information on "lasts" in 1992 as a graduate library student at Rutgers University. While reviewing core reference sources in a reference class, the topic of notable "firsts" was discussed and an excellent encyclopedic resource was demonstrated. This prompted him to ask: Where would one go to look up famous or notable "lasts?" When his question yielded nothing definitive, the idea (or rather the need) for an extensive basic reference work on "lasts" was born. Widely reviewed and highly recommended, Notable Last Facts, published in 2005 has become a core reference work in thousands of libraries and research centers. While researching "last facts," Brahms began to come across many "last words" of people. When he saw the variety of versions reported and few sourced quotations, he began to collect these too. Many Internet lists and books have endeavored to collect "last words," however these works almost exclusively do not cite historic or vetted sources for the majority of the quotations and many of the "reputed" last words are doubtful, misquoted, or clearly contrived. Almost all of the "last words" collections are non-scholarly, limited in scope, and are generally novelties marketed in the humor or miscellaneous sections in bookstores. A few attempts have been made to study and list last words more seriously, but as resources they too are limited (number of entries, breadth of coverage, age). Last Words of Notable People is the largest, most scholarly and comprehensive compilation of recorded "last words" published. Brief biographies for 3500-plus entries identify claims to fame and each quotation is sourced (many additionally annotated). The quotations, drawn from tens of thousands of references, span the globe and millennia. "Different Last Words," as well as similar "Variations" of "last words" for entries are presented when known. Quotations that appear to be bogus are identified and a sourced explanation is given.
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.