Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 2013
The Short Version:
A quirky collection of information about famous corpses and what happened to them.
Why I Read It:
I heard about this one from Jenn at Jenn’s Bookshelves and decided to get it from the library.
From the publisher:
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 that crisscross the globe and stretch the imagination.
Counterfeiters tried to steal Lincoln’s corpse. Einstein’s brain went on a cross-country road trip. And after Lord Horatio Nelson perished at Trafalgar, his sailors submerged him in brandy—which they drank.
From Mozart to Hitler, Rest in Pieces connects the lives of the famous dead to the hilarious and horrifying adventures of their corpses, and traces the evolution of cultural attitudes toward death.
This is an odd but oddly interesting book. It’s all in short little chapters of only a few pages. Even the size and shape of the book is a bit different. It’s about as wide as a mass market paperback but twice as tall as it is wide.
It’s the kind of book that is easily read in small bits rather than straight through. I’d read one or two chapters or a section and then set it aside to read something else before returning to pick it up when I only had a few minutes to read.
It’s full of odd, interesting and sometimes grotesque and even funny information.
It turns out that an awful lot of famous people went many different directions after they died. Some travelled a long way. Others had their head removed and skulls kept on display or hidden away for long periods of time. Heads are definitely not the only body parts to be snatched and kept.
For a book about dead bodies and scattered bones it’s rather lighthearted and witty.