Unabridged audiobook on 3 compact discs, 3.25 hours. Read by L.J. Ganser. Recorded Books, 2011.
Book: Illustrated by Kevin O'Malley. 144 p. Walker & Company, March, 2011.
This book comes with a warning not to continue reading if you are at all squeamish. And it delivers. Beginning with King Tut and barreling through the centuries to end with Albert Einstein, the life and death, but mostly the deaths, of nineteen famous historical figures are described in graphic, sometimes gory, occasionally irreverent detail. As a former nurse, I was aware of much of the damage that doctors inflicted on their patients through the ages, but these examples were almost too much! Poor George Washington! Poor President Garfield! Ugh!
The narration was appropriately outlandish and galloping. Missing, of course in the audio were the illustrations, which perfectly mirror the ghastly humor of the text, complete with little skulls and crossbones surrounding the page numbers. So, of course, I skimmed through after listening. Interludes between chapters fill in extra tidbits of information such as historical context, definitions of words and various lists. Source notes, suggestions for further reading and an index round off this highly readable, highly entertaining book. Perfect for your trivia lovers and history buffs. It will also be appealing to reluctant readers.
Non-Fiction Monday is hosted this week by Curious Thing Children's Literature.