How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg and Kevin O’Malley

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. For example:

It is believed that Henry VIII’s remains exploded within his coffin while lying in state.
Doctors “treated” George Washington by draining almost 80 ounces of blood before he finally kicked the bucket.
Right before Beethoven wrote his last notes, doctors drilled a hole in his stomach without any pain medication.
Readers will be interested well past the final curtain, and feel lucky to live in a world with painkillers, X-rays, soap, and 911.

This is a really funny, interesting book about history and death. Lots of death. Personally, I loved this book. It’s an original idea that was fun to read about. I really liked Georgia Bragg’s voice as a writer as she told these stories.

These stories are highly entertaining and well-written, which I really liked about them. Even for older readers, they’re great and a lot of fun. I think this book is for sixth graders and up, but it doesn’t necessarily have anything super graphic about it. It is about gore and death, and it’s written with truth, but in a good, middle grade friendly way.

Each chapter is about one person. There is no plot line to this book, but it still flows really easily, which was a thing I really liked about it. I also appreciated the way Georgia Bragg used more words to describe death than death, dead and dying. It’s great how there’s thirty plus characters, which makes for a bunch of interesting reading. There’s a good number of the people Georgia Bragg talks about, and they all had very cool stories.

A really fun book. 4.5 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 184


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