Wednesday, January 8, 2014

How They Croaked - Georgia Bragg

Summary: Over the course of history men and women have lived and died. In fact, getting sick and dying can be a big, ugly mess-especially before the modern medical care that we all enjoy today. How They Croaked relays all the gory details of how nineteen world figures gave up the ghost. Readers will be fascinated well past the final curtain, and feel lucky to live in a world with painkillers, X-rays, soap, and 911. (Summary from and image from

My Review:  Have you ever wanted to know how Cleopatra died?  Pocahontas?  Edgar Allan Poe?  Have you ever wondered what really caused the death of these people, not just old age or assassination?  This book shares it all and more in a reader-friendly format.

I've been wanting to read this for some time, but there was always another book that needed to be read first--book club, returning a book to a friend, etc.  I'm so glad I stopped my flow of the above mentioned excuses and read How They Croaked.  It's been such a fun, fast read!  162 pages with pictures, fun facts, play-on-words, puns, and mini-encyclopedia-like 2-page intermissions between stories.  I needed this break from work and kid-bickering.  It takes quite a bit to convince my husband to read a young-adult book, but without even pitching him the book, with all my constant, "You gotta hear this!" he asked me to quit ruining the book so he could read it for himself.  I love winning people over to reading!

On another note, Kevin O'Malley did a fantastic job of creating the minute details in the artwork that added to the overall story.  To give you a taste of some of the artwork, I've included a couple pages for your viewing pleasure.  If you pay close attention, you can foreshadowing what's coming in the next death biography just from the pictures.

As if you couldn't tell, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  If all nonfiction reading was this enjoyable, we'd all be a lot more knowledgeable about the world.  I wish my history classes were this fun--I might have liked history if it had been.

For the sensitive reader:  There are some bluntly put, and gruesome words regarding the depiction of death (bloated, oozing, gassy, drunk, diarrhea, etc.), but overall it's tastefully done considering the premise.

Rating: 5 Stars

Sum it up:  Told more like a narrative than nonfiction, How They Croaked shares how 19 famous historical figures passed.


Unknown said...

That book looks fascinating!

Anonymous said...

That book looks really interesting, I'm adding it to my reading list. Thanks!


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