Thursday, November 15, 2012

2013 Truman Possibility 14: How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg

I can't remember a book like this being on the Truman list before, but I have been intrigued by this book since I first saw it either early this year, or around this time last year.  When I saw it one night working at the bookstore, I picked it up and turned right to the story about George Washington and was hooked.  I even immediately went and told my school librarian she needed to order it for the library. Which she did, so I have to say I was very excited to see it on the nominees for the next group of Truman books.
The book gives a short bit on what each person was famous for, just in case you don't know.  Then it goes in to how they died.  Sometimes it may be something that they dealt with for most of their life.  Sometimes it was something done incorrectly at the very end.  All in all it was very fascinating.  Learning how Cleopatra died, as opposed to what we all "know" to be her death.  Learning about how doctors used to treat people by bloodletting, and with leeches.  All things that I'd heard of, but until this book, didn't necessarily understand how they worked.  Hearing about how James Garfield when assassinated, might have survived the bullet if only all those many different doctors hadn't just stuck their unclean, not sterilized hands into the wound just digging to get out a bullet that hadn't actually even hit any vital organs.
Yeah, it may sound kind of gory, but I think there are kids, or even people my age (like me) who find this kind of factual story about history to be fascinating.  I know so many kids that would probably get a kick out of the this book.  I purchased my copy from the school book fair this year.  I will be putting it on my shelf at school for the other kids to read as soon as I buy some more of the library cards and pockets to put in the front of the books for the kids to check out.
Some of the other well known people include Napoleon Bonaparte, and just why he held his stomach like that, Henry VIII, Beethoven, Mozart, Marie Curie, and many more!!  I've even talked to one of our Social Studies teachers at school because I think there is so much they could get out of this.  It's not just about how they died, you learn that it wasn't until JFK that there was really any Secret Service for protecting the president.  Even after the other assassinations, they didn't think it was so necessary.  So lots of historical tidbits besides the gory details of the deaths.  Great, great book!

P.S. - This review is coming to you live from Koffee Cake Corner Bakery in NYC!!  I'm here visiting my sister in order to see the midnight premiere of Breaking Dawn part 2 tonight.