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

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  3,001 ratings  ·  724 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...more
Hardcover, 184 pages
Published March 15th 2011 by Walker Childrens (first published 2011)
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Community Reviews

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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...more
Jake Fujihara
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
Aug 20, 2014 Lisa rated it 3 of 5 stars
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-...more
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...more
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
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...more
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
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
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
Fascinating! Disgusting! Thank goodness for modern medicine!
Mar 27, 2014 Lana rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone (adults and kids) who are old enough to read stuff like this...
Recommended to Lana by: Mr. Burby, my English teacher.
This was awesome. I'm usually not into books about death, but this was funny and I found it fascinating. From George Washington's lack of teeth to Cleopatra's own "Romeo and Juliet" story, I found it was actually more interesting to read about these people's deaths than their lives. I love the way the book was organized, and the writing made me laugh. (Example: Napoleon Bonaparte, "I Hate Islands"). I also love the art... it made me laugh too! I'm very squeamish when it comes to blood and killin...more
Fabulous. Both for kids, and for bored election judges on primary day.
I think the title of the book is a bit misleading, because the book isn't always about how they croaked, but what happened after. It also gives a brief rundown of their lives before they croaked.

This is the kind of book I love because it has short little chapters with tidbits of interesting information. The description of the person's life/death is also followed by more information on other random things, like gout, the sign language alphabet, and phobias. Easy, fun read!

Product Description
Adriane Devries
How They Croaked dissects the awful ends of the awfully famous, but don’t let the title get you down: It’s a hilarious, action-packed, satisfying read for those who stay up at night wondering where Mozart was buried, or whether Albert Einstein’s autopsied brain really was bigger. In its pages you will discover massively macabre miscellany about your favorite historical characters, such as Marie Antoinette; George Washington, aka, Little Mouth of Horrors; King Tut; Pocahontas; Napoleon, aka, I Ha...more
Penny Johnson
Why oh why can't more history books be this fun! I listened to the fabulous audiobook, but now I want to read the book as well! I heard fascinating details about the deaths of such well-known folks as Cleopatra (an Egyptian Romeo & Juliet tale) Beethoven (who was bald by the time they held his funeral--find out why!) and President James Garfield, (who would have survived the assassination if his doctors had just left him alone!)

As I learned about some of the terrifying medical practices of p...more
Jake Fujihara
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
Owen Hatzinger
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...more
(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...more
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...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...more
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...more
Ashlee Christians
This book is from the IRA Children’s and Young Adults' Book Awards.

The audience is young adults, most likely older middle school through high school grades. this book is all about the deaths of 19 historical figures. Along with the true stories of these deaths, there are some cartoon like pictures that the young adult readers will love. I really enjoyed reading the interesting facts and stories in this book, and I believe other readers will to!

Ebook: Salamanders

I chose the Ebook on
Shalaine Mccall
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
Dantaye Gordon
This book overall was a great book.From the jump-start there is entertainment for example my favorite part was Albert Einstein's story because he is well known and it was very astounding to see how a person so famous lived his life and when he died and also what people did with his body. People will look at this book cover and think that it is a children's book and others cant learn that much from it. After a few pages of this marvelous book you are automatically glued to every pages you read a...more
How They Croaked Review
Death, Death Everywhere...
In this gore-filled page turner, the horror never stops. The awful death of the awful famous, from Einstein’s Big Brain Adventure to Henry VIII’s numerous infections, this book has it all. This book is very action-packed, if you have the guts for gore. If you can’t handle gore, this book I not for you. Georgia Bragg is the author of this stomach turning book of death. Bragg did a VERY good job at describing the deaths, her details were very... Des...more

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...more
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
Everybody dies, even the rich and famous. From King Tut to Queen Elizabeth I to Edgar Allan Poe, How They Croaked takes a look at the deaths of famous figures, and how the eras they lived in had an affect on their medical treatment. For example, Napoleon–famous for placing his hand in his shirt in portraits–died of a cancerous stomach ulcer. Too bad doctors didn’t know that when they tried to cure him by blistering his thighs and stomach. Or George Washington, who died from an infection easily c...more
In How They Croaked, Georgia Bragg takes a conversational approach to writing about the deaths of famous people in history. While a book like this could come off as boring, Bragg makes the material extremely interesting and approachable with her casual style. Additionally, it is evident that Bragg did a tremendous amount of research to put together all of the pieces for each person's death. The reader gets a history lesson along the way while reading interesting stories of death. Bragg also incl...more
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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.
More about Georgia Bragg...
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