The Browser's Book of Endings: The End of Practically Everything and Everybody

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Press:PENGUIN (USA) Penguin Books (December 1, 1999)
Publication Date:19991201


With a New Preface on the End of the World Charles Panati, America's favorite gatherer of origins, now offers the last word on how people, places, and things of all sorts have met their ends through the centuries. 
From famous presidents to frightening epidemics, from ancient extinctions to vanished vogues, from bizarre last wills to the death styles of the rich and renowned, The Browser's Book of Endings presents the amusing, the surprising, and the generally little-known stories behind the terminations of practically everything and everybody.
Illustrated with more than 100 drawings, diagrams, and archival photographs, with an extensive reference list and index, this is the most readable and complete compendium of deliciously trivial and profound facts about history's endings.1.
What were Oscar Wilde's last words? 2.
What caused the extinction of the Dodo bird? 3.
How did Belle Starr meet her death? 4.
Who was the last great castrata (castrated male soprano singer)? 5.
When was drawing and quartering banned in England?***Answers: 1.
"I am dying as I've lived: beyond my means." 2.
Introduction of Dutch colonials and their animals to Mauritius.
Ambushed and shot twice by her son and sometime lover.
Giovanni Velluti (1780-1761).


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Comment List (Total:11)

  •     The Browser's Book of Endings (by Charles Panati) proves that endings can be fun, if done correctly. This book is filled with much fun facts on death, disease and extinctions (among other gloomy subjects) yet it is completely and morbidly fascinating. I will even confess to not browsing through it as strongly recommended by the title but instead launching myself into it and reading it from cover to cover. It brought me back to my heady childhood days glued to such founts of wisdom as the Book of Lists and the People's Almanac. The humour in the book was also a delighful suprise (and a much needed release from all of the doom and gloom). A fun time was had by all.
  •     Charles Panati has always been a fascinating author. His books are typically dedicated to information, mostly about the origin of things. There's his Browser's Book of Beginnings and his Sexy Origins of Intimate Things. But I use this book the most by far when it comes to information I need to know, along with his Sacred Origins of Profound Things. Where as most of his books deal with beginnings, this book deals with endings. There of course origins of instruments of death such as the electric chair and the guillotine, but the whole is concerned with death and the ways it happens. Great for reference and great for just reading. Though at first it is a grim subject, Panati deals with it in such a way, that you could almost read it as humorous yet respectful. Points of interest include last wills and testaments of past presidents and the last words along with cause and description of death with famous figures in history such as Buddha, Joan of Arc, Edgar Allan Poe, and Ludwig van Beethoven. And in reflecting how these monumental people died, we also reflect on how they lived and realize that no one is exempt from death, and that we need to make the most of it, and laugh about it in the end.
  •     Charles Panati has done his work well, this mesmerizing book will keep you flipping the pages till your done.
  •     It is truly wonderful to see Charles Panati's work back in print. There was a decade-long spell where all of his lively, meticulous and engrossing work was unavailable. This collection is his best, and is finally back in print. I'm already mailing copies to my friends. The sheer variety and scope of this (long but never dull) book is a brilliant display. It's not just the 'last words' of celebrities, war heros, presidents and kings. Or the sobering list of incredible but extinct creatures - the Steller Sea Cow, the Passenger Pigeon, the comical/doomed Dodo, the 7-foot New Zealand Moa bird - it's all here. Even abandoned burial practices (Zoroastrians leaving corpses on 15-foot platforms to be exposed to the elements/birds, or the French placing millions of skeletons in the catacombs of Paris). But there's so much more - catastrophic yet now forgotten plagues, U.S. Presidential wills (what DID Abe Lincoln leave behind?...), and fascinating stories of bizarre and ineffective medical practices that have passed into history, curing no one. If you've read this far, you want this book. I want you to have it too. Buy it, it's great.
  •     All of Panati's books are a good read, just the kind of book you need if you've got a curious mind.For a rainy day read, or a break from more 'serious' reading, Panati is the choice. Hey, it beats watching television!Recommended!
  •     Oscar Wilde's last words? What caused the extinction of the Dodo bird? Author Charles Panati has compiled a most fascinating look at the end of practically everything and everybody. Last words of famous folk. Final resting places of the rich and famous. Bequests of dying Presidents. There are all here, in this witty (and highly readable) compendium of all things dead and dying. Think of it as the beginning of the end and you'll finish first. Or is it last? As for the answers to our questions . . .
  •     Panati reviews all forms of endings, and writes well and frankly---there is much good historical information here, and he touches on little discussed topics!!!
  •     Great endings---very interesting and enjoyable!
  •     A great source for all sorts of useless (and not so useless) information on just about anything. Highly recommend to anyone who likes weird stuff.
  •     Broken in to small sections, this book is easy to read, a little at a time, or all at once. I was so interested that I spent a weekend glued to this book.It's like reading small articles that interest you, rather than reading a whole book about the same subject.
  •     After writing six books about origins of things, Panati now offers a fascinating volume on endings: Past Sex Practices, Species' Extinctions, Last Wills and Testaments of American Presidents, History's Greatest Epidemics, Vanished Medical Practices, Celebrities' Famous Last Words and Wishes, Death Sytles of the Rich and Renown, The Origin of Cemeteries, and why everything that's living must eventually die. Fun stuff. A book I'll cherish to my dying day.

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