The title of this book says it all. How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous, by Georgia Bragg, details the lives and unenviable deaths of some of history’s great figures like King Tut, George Washington, and Marie Curie. In gruesome detail, Bragg describes the various maladies, the oftentimes fatal “cures,” and the post-mortem treatment these people received. For example:
After being shot in the back by a crazed office-seeker, President James Garfield would have survived his wound…that is, if the doctors hadn’t gotten hold of him.
Prior to his death, Charles Dickens’ entire left side would sometimes quit working. Today, we know that to be evidence of a stroke. In his time, the doctors blamed it on “too many bumpy train rides.”
Legend has it that Cleopatra killed herself with a poisonous snake bite, but find out how she truly met her end.
What you discover in this book might surprise you, sicken you, and make you glad to be living in the 21st Century. A word of warning, though – if your doctor starts talking about leeches and mustard plaster, run!