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Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses
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Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  488 ratings  ·  85 reviews
IN THE LONG RUN, WE’RE ALL DEAD. But for some of the most influential figures in history, death marked the start of a new adventure.

The famous deceased have been stolen, burned, sold, pickled, frozen, stuffed, impersonated, and even filed away in a lawyer’s office. Their fingers, teeth, toes, arms, legs, skulls, hearts, lungs, and nether regions have embarked on voyages th
Hardcover, 329 pages
Published March 12th 2013 by Simon & Schuster
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David Sumner
What a fun read. Fascinating and hilarious all at once. An interesting look at some of the strangest human behavior to persist through the ages.
Most people know about the resurrectionists, the grave robbers who provided bodies for medical students in the 19th century, but a lot of other things have happened to corpses. They have been stolen to use as religious relics, held for ransom, used as exhibits, moved from place to place- not always in complete form, shot into space (at least that one was the wish of the deceased), destroyed to prevent it being used as a political symbol, and preserved and displayed them as political symbols. Mos ...more
Paul Pessolano
“Rest in Pieces” by Bess Lovejoy, published by Simon and Schuster.

Category – History

This book could be considered History, maybe macabre, and possibly maybe even funny. I guess it is what you want to make of it.

Bess Lovejoy has put together about 50 stories of people famous and infamous that have died and left a “legacy” about their remains. She has broken it down into sections ranging from Politics to Unsolved Mysteries.

The stories range from people who have been beheaded and the travels of the
Nicola Mansfield
This book briefly, but on several occasions, insults Catholics & the Orthodox but I will address that at the end. As I browsed though the table of contents I was quite surprised at how well read I've become on this rather macabre topic as I noticed expected names. I then proceeded to look for some specific names to see if they were included and found everyone so I was quite pleased with the read ahead of me. At first I was a little disappointed that the book was not written as a cohesive uni ...more
Rating Clarification: 3.5 Stars
A really fun read. I wasn't sure I'd like it at first; I can't remember why but it seemed to be something about the details or lack thereof. As I continued thought, I enjoyed it more and more. The funniest story is about the ashes for D.H. Lawrence. Seems his wife decided that his ashes should be taken to Taos, NM where they had a ranch. She had built a small shrine to his honor and wanted the ashes there. They had to come from England through a series of friends, who kept forgetting the urn var ...more
I think I am ready to write a review for this.
Have you ever picked up a good, with all sorts of good intentions and expectations, and then like 4 pages you can barely remember them, if at all? This book was much like that. I remember mine because I had to explain it to everyone that happened to walk past my desk, then in defense for while I would think of forcing this on my unsuspecting buddy for our first ever "buddy-read."

So, what was I expecting? I was expecting a somewhat light and humorous
First sentence: "A corpse is always a problem--both for the living and for the dead."

In this book, Bess Lovejoy answers the question "but what happened after they died?" Here you will find where famous body parts ended up; everything from Einstein's brain to Napoleon's, ahem, nether regions. You will also learn about bodies held for ransom (or attempted snatchings). There are stories of leaders and dictators being preserved for posterity. Unusual resting places abound in the pages. One thing you
I absolutely adored this book. It was a very intriguing read, and I cannot believe some of the things people have done with others' remains in the name of love, hate, or just owning some cool memento to brag about. It also is kind of sad that in all of these different stories, very few of them got their dying wishes. Some of the ones that did had to wait years, others had the exact opposite imposed upon their remains. This is a must read for anyone who loves medical curiosity, urban legends, his ...more
Larry Tornari
“Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses by Bess Lovejoy” book is a great read. It kept me glued to the book and I never wanted to put in down. In fact I was disappointed when it ended. The one good thing is that Bess, notes where she received her facts from in an extensive source section that allows readers to check on the “stories” if they wish so that they can learn more about the famous corpses.

Basically the books tells about, “famous corpses” and the manner in which they died a
David Caldwell
I won a copy on Goodreads Firstreads.

In this collection, the author set two rules for who could be included.They had to be famous during their life.Something weird had to have happened to their remains.The entries range form Saint Nicholas to Hunter S. Thompson.There are tales of remains being turned into religious Relics.Famous skulls were often stolen for the pseudo-science of phrenology that was popular during Victorian times.Other cases involved how to deal with political corpses, bodies bei
Unlike the usual "how they died" encyclopedias, "Rest in Pieces" is an encyclopedia of "what happened to them after they died." Lovejoy's criteria for inclusion in the book: the people had to be famous and they couldn't rest peacefully in an undisturbed grave for eternity.

That's not to say this doesn't include the stories you expect: Vladimir Lenin's permanent snooze in his mausoleum in Red Square, Evita Peron's postmortem kidnapping, the road trips of Einstein's brain. In addition to those, it
"A corpse is always a problem — both for the living and for the dead." Macabre, witty, and extremely well documented; Lovejoy gave me something that I have been missing for a long time... an enjoyable read from start to finish. Some of these stories will be well known to those of us who have a fascination with the strange (who among us didn't grow up looking for a girl like Mary Shelley who will keep our heart as a memento after we die?), but all are well written. The chapters are concise and or ...more
This is a book you can read a little at a time and still enjoy. It's a sometimes amusing, sometimes gruesome, often strange, and completely fascinating look at how famous corpses have been revered and desecrated throughout history.

The book is neatly divided into different categories, like "Saints and Sinners," and "Love and Devotion," and provides an curious collection of people, from the political arena to the artistic and scientific. I would think that for some people picking up this book with
Ben Klayer
This is a really interesting book. It speculates the deaths of many famous historical figures. Then, it recounts what happened to those bodies postmortem. Some of these stories are macabre. Others are gross, scary, or otherwise strange. But all of them are entertaining, surprising, and thought-provoking. Many dead celebrities are known for their life's work. However, their deaths are just as interesting, at least in these cases.
Interesting topic. Could have been dealt with in a slightly more comedic fashion and the writing would have been more interesting but I had the feeling she was trying not to upset anyone. The only issue is that someone is going to be upset with this topic so you might as well just write and be interesting. It felt like she was holding back so I think the writer has it in her, but maybe the publisher was nervous?
Mary Ann
Did you know that there were plans to kidnap Lincoln's corpse for ransom? What happened to Einstein's brain? Who would keep a famous person's preserved heart, eyes...or penis? The answers to these and other questions can be found in Bess Lovejoy's Rest in Pieces.

Rest in Pieces is an entertaining, if superficial, look at the looting, relocating, and fetishizing of various famous corpses. At its best, it gives us a bit of insight into the need that some feel to continue their celebrity worship aft
The book is a collection of short pieces on famous corpses and what became of them. While the subject is macabre it is sometimes gruesome, often funny and always peculiar. It is one of those books that you can read a little, put in down and read more without ever losing your place.
David V.
Received as an ARC from the publisher. Finished in just a few days. Wonderfully macabre. Stories about famous people and what happened to their corpses. Most of the stories are just 3-4 pages long. Many of the stories surprised me about the bodies becoming "pieces parts" and being buried in more than one location. Some were sad--Thomas Paine and John Paul Jones. Great figures in history with less than glorious burials. Some were almost comical--Australia's version of Jesse James, Ned Kelly. Othe ...more
A bit of a morbid read, but each "celebrity corpse" story was either very sad, hilarious, or just bizarre. A fun, quick read, and a bibliography is provided at the end, should anyone want to follow up on the celebrity corpses.
Nancy Barton
An excellent little mindless read. I never knew the story on Gram Parsons death and thereafter. Sometimes it really is true...the higher you climb the harder you fall.
Edward Sullivan
An entertaining collection of true stories about what became of corpses of the famous and infamous. Some humorous, some gruesome, and all interesting.
This book does exactly what the title says; it tells stories of famous people whose corpses have interesting or curious fates. I found it fascinating. Apparently phrenologists had a habit of taking skulls, particularly belonging to those of famous people (for instance, Haydn's friend bribed a gravedigger so that he could have and display Haydn's skull).

My favorite story was that of Abraham Lincoln. After Lincoln's death, some would be grave robbers attempted to steal Lincoln's body. They planne
Fascinating read about what happened to the remains of many famous celebrities, politicians and notable people. Fast, easy reading with just a few pages dedicated to each person. Learn about history in a fun, morbid way, yay!!! :)
File under wonderful, quirky studies in history. Entertaining and perceptive.
I really enjoyed this book. It's broken up into different stories following the real (and sometimes supposed) journey that famous corpses take. Really entertaining as some of the stories are almost farcical. Would recommend!
Sean Nelson
This is probably one of the most interesting and wicked books I have ever read. I won this in the goodreads giveaway and it has been the talk of my family. We all loved reading it. The artwork is gothic and beautiful and I love the size and shape of the book. The texture of the cover is also really original and everything comes together to present this awesome little treasure that talks about what has become of some very famous Corpses. This is a must have for anyone into dark, macabre, or gothi ...more
nonfiction; weird history. This was ok--not exceptionally interesting if you're already used to writers like Mary Roach, but there's nothing actually wrong with it. I only read the first couple stories then skipped ahead to find out about Poe (since he's our city's One Reads this year)--but his story wasn't terribly interesting either: dies suddenly of mysterious causes, had an unknown person leave wineglass/roses on his grave every year, for a while. More interesting was what happened to Dicken ...more
Kent District Library
Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses by Bess Lovejoy
Try not to let the title creep you out, this book offers a very intriguing and fascinating look at what happened to some of the most famous men and women in history after they passed on. Lord Byron, Grigori Rasputin, and Elvis Presley are just a few of the big names who have their afterlife explored. Some of the descriptions are a little stomach turning but the stories reflect cultural attitudes on death and how we treat our dead
Susan Jones
I liked it--I like it when an author has a sense of humor--although I realize it may not be for everyone.
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Goodreads Librari...: Too many pages listed 3 22 Jun 16, 2013 12:48PM  
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  • Buried Alive: The Terrifying History of Our Most Primal Fear
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  • Jane Austen's England
  • Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography
Bess Lovejoy is a writer, researcher, and editor based in Seattle and Brooklyn. She writes about dead people, forgotten history, and sometimes art, literature, and science. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Believer, The Boston Globe, The Stranger, and other publications. She worked on the Schott’s Almanac series for five years.
More about Bess Lovejoy...
Rest in Pieces Rest in Pieces: Die unglaublichen Schicksale berühmter Leichen

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