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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  ·  3,893 ratings  ·  872 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. PalacioCinder by Marissa MeyerHow They Croaked by Georgia BraggEdna in the Desert by Maddy LedermanVampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Lone Star List 2013
3rd out of 26 books — 22 voters
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Best Books for Teen Boys
209th out of 1,081 books — 1,307 voters

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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
Wart Hill
Interesting and entertaining!
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
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
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-
Fascinating! Disgusting! Thank goodness for modern medicine!
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
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
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. :)
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
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
Oct 09, 2014 Joan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: reluctant readers
The author in a very entertaining, yet basically respectful, way tells how a number of well known people died. She managed to find fascinating facts on all of them. This is the perfect "oooo-GROSS" book to give reluctant readers. It actually works pretty well for Common Core as well, since it covers nonfiction from a bit of an interdisciplinary point of view. A lot of this is anatomy and medical history, but a lot of nonscientific history gets covered as well. The author throws in a bunch of som ...more
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth Dennis
So I have to start out by saying that I didn't really know what to expect when I chose this book to read. I was pleasantly surprised though! I think that the information was raw, funny, and accurate. So many history courses dramatize and sugar coat how things went, but this book just lays it all out there for you. I learned more in these last 200 pages about these famous people through history than I ever did in school. This could be a great book for young kids to really get interested in biogra ...more
Jessica Lange
May 18, 2015 Jessica Lange rated it 5 of 5 stars
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)
In How They Croaked by Bragg O'Malley, the reader learns about how historical figures died. For example: Cleopatra died not from a snake bite (as popularized by Shakespeare) but by a miscommunication error and a poisoned hairpin.
Also, Gallileo has lead poisoning and Tut was murdered. How They Croaked is a nonfiction book about the awful deaths of the awfully famous. I liked the book because it went very in-depth.

I did like this book because she described the cause of death very well, and in gre
Fabulous. Both for kids, and for bored election judges on primary day.
Who knew reading the gritty details of the deaths of some of the most historically famous could be so much fun?

Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Pocahontas, Albert Einstein, and so on... we've all heard of them before, and most probably know at least a little bit about them or what they accomplished in life, but this book provides you with the information that history books tends to gloss over; their deaths. Some awfully slow and agonizing (like James Garfield. Dude got the short end of the stick there)
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
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
(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
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
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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...
How They Choked: Failures, Flops, and Flaws of the Awfully Famous Matisse on the Loose How They Crooked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous

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