There is a warning associated with this book which is highly insightful.
If you don’t have the guts for gore, do not read this book
How They Croaked tells the tale of over a dozen notable and icon figures from King Tut, to Cleopatra, Charles Dickens, Presidents James A. Garfield and more. I listened to the audio cd, which was wonderfully narrated by LJ Ganser. His pacing was neither too slow, nor too fast, he had a way of reading the book that made it sound conversational and fun. Then again, what book about death and gore isn’t fun for young kids?
This book is full of shudder inducing moments, and I can say that I am eternally grateful for modern medicine after having finished this book. Kids will learn briefly about the lives of each person; the why and how they became famous. Then there is an in-depth discussion of the days preceding their death and what the probably causes may have been. It’s shocking how many of the deaths were simply due to medical incompetence and lack of cleanliness and sanitation guidelines. Although I knew something about each of the people discussed in the book, I was able to learn something new about each and every person. For instance, King Tut was not murdered, Einstein’s brain was stolen from a lab in Princeton, dissected then distributed to various brain scientists around the nation.
The actual book has illustrations and photos which will make it an entertaining read. This I think will make for a fun road-trip listen, as long as most of the family is okay with the sordid and messy lives. Another plus point with this book is that Bragg did not hold back on vocabulary, trivia, and additional information. After finishing the discussion of a person’s death, there would be a few sections devoted to similar topics, ie; naming a few of Charles Dickens’ 13401 characters, different phobias in the chapter on Charles Darwin, and different types of poisons, potions, as well as things named after the icons, ie Caesarian section is named after Julius Caesar and how he was born.
This is a wonderfully entertaining and intelligent book that would shed some light on some of the lesser discussed topics of history classes.