Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Book Review: How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous

Georgia Bragg, author of "How They Croaked" offers this warning:

And I agree. Even though it is marketed for children 10-14 years old, I can't really recommend this for younger readers. My sensitive 11-year-old daughter (who reads anything she can get her hands on) did not like it one bit. She read a couple of stories and found it too gory and gross. I suppose the age of the child isn't as much a factor as their squeamishness level. She just doesn't have the stomach for this book.

I, on the other hand, loved it! I love a good death, though, and I have never heard many of the stories in this book! It is decidedly gross, though. The author doesn't really hold back in describing in detail some of the processes used by early physicians such as "bleeding" or "blistering" a patient, or what happened when disease, infection and various maladies that are now quite curable struck. Some of these details are nasty, but totally engrossing (pardon the pun), and I enjoyed it all. 

The illustrations, whimsical fonts, and educational asides are also entertaining and add to the twisted charm of the writing style. History is retold with humor and scientific imperturbability.

You may think you know how Cleopatra died, or what happened to Columbus or George Washington, but there are surprises in this book for everyone. If you have the stomach for it, you will probably find this book fascinating.

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