Bizarre Bump-Offs and Extraordinary Exits: History's Weirdest Deaths

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History's Weirdest Deaths

The Internet has made famous the Darwin Awards -- people who died in such fashion as to have done a benefit to humanity by removing themselves from the gene pool. But people have been making their final exit in unusual ways long before we were able to share such stories in a viral fashion.

James Proud has collected these historical horrors (and sometimes hilarities) in this comfortable-sized hardcover, HISTORY'S WEIRDEST DEATHS, featuring over 120-pages of anecdotes, peppered with the occasional page of factoids and tidbits -- ending, appropriately enough, with famous last words.

Now, while many of the factoids are interesting, and some of the stories -- such as Aeschylus killed by a falling tortoise, or the cryotherapist who accidentally froze herself to death -- are ironic or unusual, many of them are simply, as the title suggests, weird. Not in a "Wow, I didn't see that coming" kind of weird, but in a "That's statistically rare" kind of way. Like filming yourself during a bungee jump and the ropes give way, or sitting on a medieval privy and taking a sword up the bowels. (That last one is less likely since the invention of runnng water, but you can still turn your toilet into an electric chair, as the death row inmate trying to fix his headphones found out the hard way.)

HISTORY'S WEIRDEST DEATHS isn't the kind of book you're going to read cover-to-cover. You can, of course. But this book lends itself more to just thumbing through, picking a random spot, and going from there. Every page is a self-contained bit, so you won't accidentally jump into the middle of something. It is, in the traditional sense, a "bathroom reader" (just, you know, don't be absently repairing your headphones while trying to read it there, for reasons we've already explained). It's also the kind of book you might leave out on your desk at the office for conversational breaks. It's sure to generate interest as you bring up people we're all glad we're not.

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0