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How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  4,500 Ratings  ·  994 Reviews
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 s
Hardcover, 184 pages
Published March 15th 2011 by Walker Childrens (first published 2011)
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Wonder by R.J. PalacioHow They Croaked by Georgia BraggVampire Academy by Richelle MeadCinder by Marissa MeyerAlmost Home by Joan Bauer
Lone Star List 2013
2nd out of 26 books — 21 voters
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Best Books for Teen Boys
223rd out of 1,120 books — 1,283 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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2011 October 4

One of the things usually left out of children's books is dying. Not death, characters are dead all the time, but the miserable, painful, agonizing bit of dying is usually glossed over. But kids like the gross, the agonizing, the unbelievable "who thought that was a good idea?" craziness of other times and cultures. Bragg has written a really entertaining book that manages to give the reader a look at what was laughably called "medicine", a little of the business of ruling countrie
Sep 16, 2016 Angie rated it really liked it
This book was awesome. It was irreverent and informative at the same time. I learned all kinds of things about the famous people discussed in the book. Like the fact that Charles Dickens was manic depressive and that James Garfield would have survived his gunshot wound if his doctors would have left him alone. There are fascinating facts about each of the people and they are in short little chapter so you are not overwhelmed with details. Bragg also adds little bits of information after each cha ...more
What an original and very fun way to discuss history and important historical figures! Yes, it's slightly morbid, and there were times when I definitely said, "Ew, that's gross!" But it was also VERY interesting and educational - and humorous! Seriously, I can see kids being much more likely to be willing to read about these famous people in the context of their deaths (which are all fairly gruesome in one way or another) than in a "normal" biography. Plus each person's chapter is generally arou ...more
Jun 15, 2011 Vicky rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
I find trivia interesting, I like learning about historical figures, and I guess learning about how people died is pretty interesting too. So basically, I enjoyed this book. However, possibly because it's written for a young audience, it seemed to me to be dumbed-down quite a bit. And while there is a list of references in the back, the book is written with such a tone of sarcasm that I often found it hard to believe some of the things the author wrote because they came off more as extreme exagg ...more
Owen Hatzinger
Jan 12, 2012 Owen Hatzinger rated it it was amazing
How They Croaked Book Review Owen Hatzinger
By: Georgia Bragg 1/12/12

Over the course of history, men and women have lived and died. Whether someone had a lung explode, was stabbed to death or dies of poison, dying is one big ugly mess, especially before modern medical care. This book was a very interesting book, especially how some of the most famous people in history died.

The theme is like humor and gore. It doesn’t have a lesson. I like how the author wrote in a graphic way. It is really ac
Jan 28, 2012 Alicia rated it it was amazing
A skeleton dressed in a doctor's lab coat with cool font and a blood red background-- how can it first not get your attention and not make you want to pick it up?! What a neat book, a collective biography of historical figures and how they died. Each chapter is about four to five pages in length, set off with cryptic black and white sketches (including a full-page introductory sketch relevant to the story being told) filled with humor and factoids that are fun to collect and that ends with a two ...more
Apr 04, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it
Fabulous. Both for kids, and for bored election judges on primary day.
Jan 20, 2013 Terri rated it it was ok
I have no doubt that students will like this book, but I found it annoying for several reasons. First, I have a problem with information books that fail to clearly cite sources for stated facts, and especially with those that share misinformation! This book does both, and I am seriously pondering whether to insert an errata statement or simply withdraw it from our collection. Additionally, I don't care for the sly, "wink, wink" tone of the author aside-riddled text that tries too hard for irreve ...more
May 23, 2015 Angie rated it really liked it
BOOK TALK: This book is about the really disgusting ways that really famous people have died. How famous are we talking? We're talking historical figures, people the entire world knows, like King Tut, Christopher Columbus, Marie Antoinette and Albert Einstein to name just a few. OK, so how disgusting were their deaths?
James A. Garfield, 20th President of the United States, is standing at a train station. This is years before we invented the Secret Service, so the only person he's got there to pr
This was my 13th book for the YALSA Best Books reading challenge. I thought a gruesome book for the 13th would be fitting. I didn't expect to love this one. I did!

So this is a non-fiction book about how famous people died. It has loads of gory details about medical reasons that people such as King Tut or George Washington died. There are lots of random facts as well. And there is bit at the end about how all these famous people are connected. (Such as the fact that Napoleon read Caesar's books f
Loved, loved, loved this book. I think it's one I'm going to have to buy. If teachers would use books like this to teach history, kids would not be crying tears of boredom over every history lesson.

The authors craftily tell a brief history of twenty famous people and describe in detail their grisly ends. The treatments for people with disease were truly horrific. I do actually enjoy reading history books, but I left this book feeling like I'd gained a wealth of new information.

Each chapter beg
May 22, 2012 Kate rated it it was amazing
HOW THEY CROAKED isn't your typical nonfiction, in topic or in tone. With a voice that's frank, funny, and far lighter than its morbid topic, author Georgia Bragg delivers what's promised in the book's subtitle -- The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous -- and provides detailed, often delightfully gross stories about the way nineteen of history's famous figures met their demises. Included in the list are notables like King Tut, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, and Christopher Columbus, whose shipbo ...more
Jul 15, 2012 Lynn rated it really liked it
(gr 5+)This irreverent, snarky view of the deaths of such historic personages, as King Tut, Marie Antoinette and Albert Einstein starts out with a warning: "...If you do not have the guts for gore, do not read this book." The author does not mince words, but does define the "new" terms used, such as "natron (saltlike stuff)," so this is very accessible to younger readers and will appeal to their sense of the horrific. But this is definitely not for the squeamish!

What I like best about this book
Jake Fujihara
Mar 19, 2013 Jake Fujihara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous was a great and interesting book. My personal favorite was the story of Albert Einstein. All of the other stories were about how they died, but Einstein's was about after he died. It was mainly about what happened to his brain, and the story was quite interesting and very descriptive. I also enjoyed how Georgia Bragg used so many replacements for the words "death" and "dead". Instead she used words such as "croaked", "kicked the bucket", and ...more
Jake Fujihara
Mar 19, 2013 Jake Fujihara rated it it was amazing
How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous was a great and interesting book. My personal favorite was the story of Albert Einstein. All of the other stories were about how they died, but Einstein's was about after he died. It was mainly about what happened to his brain, and the story was quite interesting and very descriptive. I also enjoyed how Georgia Bragg used so many replacements for the words "death" and "dead". Instead she used words such as "croaked", "kicked the bucket", and ...more
May 08, 2013 Kris rated it it was amazing

Bragg, G. (2011) How they croaked: the awful ends of the awfully famous.(K. O'Malley, Illustrator). New York: Walker & Company

Genre: Collective Biography

Awards: American Library Association Notable Books for Children (Winner 2012)

Format: Print –hardback

Selection Process: YALSA Teen Book Finder, Bowker Books in Print, Council Rock Summer Reading List 2011


Pus, boils, fever, poison. How They Croaked gives you the goriest details for some of history’s most famous heroes and villains conne
Shalaine Mccall
Sep 11, 2013 Shalaine Mccall rated it it was amazing
How They Croaked is a book that tells you about the deaths of people that died who were famous. This book is filled with juicy details of the people that died such as Elizabeth 1, Galileo Galilei, Julius Caesar,and many more exciting new discoveries of the awfully famous. I never imagined myself reading a book about dead people,but for the first time ever I liked a book that was about death. There is humor, mystery and all sorts of feelings that you can encounter in this book. If you are the ty ...more

Do you know how Edgar Allan Poe died? Well in this book it explains how he dies.Some say he died because he was a dunk. Scientist say he could have died of rabies.In the book it said "They put Poe in the hospital for 3 days. He didn't sober like he was sopose too." Rabies makes you feel drunk. Maybe that's why he didn't sober up it the hospital. This non-fiction book is great because it teaches the awful ends of the awfully famous(that means there deaths).

The author's purpose
Melanie Bahena
Do you ever wonder, how some of our historys most important people died? I know I would wonder that at times! This is the book for you. It has the deaths of kings, queens, presidents, and so much more. Its gross, icky, and at parts makes you want to throw up.

The way the author described things, really made you want to throw up! I know at least 3 times during this book, i felt sick to my stomach. One of the really gross deaths that i think someone had was our first president George Washington! D
Jan 15, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen-non-fiction
Fascinating! Disgusting! Thank goodness for modern medicine!
Aug 20, 2014 Lisa rated it liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: book club
"The cover of this book is pretty cool looking," so said my barely 7 year old grandson as he picked it up and started reading aloud as we drove home from the library. It held his attention for about 10 minutes until we arrived home and had to hurry and get ready for our next activity.

Author Georgia Bragg has written a chapter for each of the 19 famous people explaining a little about each and and how he/she died.

I think 7 year old Viktor may not be ready for this book until after a few years-
Nov 11, 2014 Lily rated it it was amazing
How They Croaked is a exceptional novel that tells us readers "the awful ends of the awfully famous." From Cleopatra to George Washington, this intriguing novel gives you the inside scoop on the disgusting, atrocious, and repulsive deaths of the stars. Written by Georgia Bragg this superior anthology is packed with dreadful yet addicting short stories that will make you jump out of your chair feeling afraid, excited, and most of all, grossed out. Illustrated by Kevin O'Malley, the non-fiction bo ...more
Nov 16, 2014 Brooke rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
How They Croaked is a non fiction, shocking , sad, amusing, gross, absurb book, that leads you to storys about how the long ago famous people died. Each chapter is a different story about a different person. This book was very addicting and very hard to put down, once you started you had to keep on reading. How They Croaked was very facinating, it revealed informatoin that most people thought it was the other way around. When you read the book you don't always have to go in order becuase each ch ...more
Wart Hill
Jan 14, 2015 Wart Hill rated it really liked it
Interesting and entertaining!
I really can't properly review this book, because it is so different than all the other books I've read. This book isn't my normal young adult book, it's a watered down book about how famous people died. Yes, I did have to read it for school, but I really enjoyed it! I really like History and stuff like this in general, so I found this book interesting. I was quite surprised because I thought it was going to be unbearable. I recommend it as a middle grade book. :)
Jessica Lange
May 18, 2015 Jessica Lange rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone That Can Handle The Disturbing Parts
This is a really interesting way to look at people that are, well, "awfully famous". I really like how each chapter stars off with tidbits from the person's life and the beginning to their "awful end". Not only did they talk about only that person, but at the end of each chapter there are some fun facts relating to what you just read (American Sign Language ABC's for Beethoven is pretty cool to include).
Learning about some of my favorite people (Edgar Allen Poe, Beethoven, and Albert Einstein)
Kimberly Ann
Jan 28, 2016 Kimberly Ann rated it liked it
This is a book written for younger teens, but with the "attitude" of mid-teens. It is about the deaths of 19 famous people, including: King Tut, Cleopatra, Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth, Pocahontas (ignorant author calls her "princess"...No Such Thing as a Native American "princess" in the 48), Mozart, George Washington, Beethoven, James a. Garfield, & Albert Einstein....
It amazing how many people died from lack of hygiene.... How uneducated "doctors" were, how many people were poisoned.....
Apr 04, 2016 Sesana rated it liked it
A little gross at times, but morbidly fascinating. Great middle grade potential with exactly the sort of kids you'd expect to pick up a book with a skeleton on the cover.
Kelsey Reinke
Jun 03, 2016 Kelsey Reinke rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was a fun, light-hearted look at how many famous people died, but also how they lived & what they accomplished - why they were remembered. Suitable for the YA crowd or even a bit younger. Certainly not a complete history, but never boring. I could see this sparking a lot of interest in kids.
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Georgia Bragg’s father, mother, and brother are all artists, and Georgia is too. She was a printmaker, a painter, and a storyboard artist before becoming a writer. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two children, and two cats.
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