Death Becomes Them: Unearthing the Suicides of the Brilliant, the Famous, and the Notorious

Death Becomes Them: Unearthing the Suicides of the Brilliant, the Famous, and the Notorious

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by Alix Strauss
     
 

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Kurt Cobain, Anne Sexton, Mark Rothko, Ernest Hemingway, Adolf Hitler . . . all famous, some rich and powerful, some beloved, some abhorred. But when life and circumstance got to be too much, each headed for the exit door. Sigmund Freud overdosed on morphine. Dorothy Dandridge stripped naked and swallowed a handful of antidepressants. Hunter S. Thompson shot

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Overview

Kurt Cobain, Anne Sexton, Mark Rothko, Ernest Hemingway, Adolf Hitler . . . all famous, some rich and powerful, some beloved, some abhorred. But when life and circumstance got to be too much, each headed for the exit door. Sigmund Freud overdosed on morphine. Dorothy Dandridge stripped naked and swallowed a handful of antidepressants. Hunter S. Thompson shot himself while talking to his wife on the phone.

These are the lonely personal nightmares behind celebrity suicides—the deaths and their causes are as diverse as the victims themselves. In Death Becomes Them, Alix Strauss bids each one a final good-bye while examining the last days and the unbearable incidents that drove these notables to end their lives. She decodes their notes, touches on their accomplishments, and delves into the methodologies of their deaths using autopsy and police reports and personal photos. Strauss also explores the morbid curiosity that feeds our fixation with famously tortured souls and provides lists of other controversial, bizarre, and poorly executed suicides in this mammoth tome.

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Editorial Reviews

Jerry Stahl
“A truly unique, compelling and strangely life-affirming work of literary investigation. The perfect book to get you through the night. ”
A.J. Jacobs
“Dark, grisly, and completely fascinating. I almost felt guilty for so thoroughly enjoying this look at history’s most tormented souls.”
Michael Largo
“Strauss brilliantly exposes the devilry in the details and makes the profoundly moving, self-inflicted end-days of the greats a fascinating read.”
Rona Jaffe
“A truly unique, compelling and strangely life-affirming work of literary investigation. The perfect book to get you through the night. ”
Adolf Hitler and Virginia Woolf; Mark Rothko and Kurt Cobain. These people and the other celebrities in this book shared only two things: their fame and their suicides. Alix Strauss' Death Becomes Them doesn't prove its title claim, but it does keep us rapt with its all-too-true tales of final exits.
Publishers Weekly
For those who never miss the obits, this odd little compendium of true suicide stories from author Strauss (The Joy of Funerals, Have I Got a Guy for You) may scratch a certain itch. Focusing mainly on creative types-writers, actors, musicians and artists-Strauss strikes a genial tone infused with plenty of gallows humor; Sylvia Plath's tale is amended with a breezy sidebar on the troubled poet's method of self-execution, an oven fueled by coal gas: "Cheaper than pills, easier than hanging, and less messy than the remnants from a gunshot, death by coal was quick, painless, and, most important, easily accessible." Strauss's giddy enthusiasm for the topic manifests in easy jokes and glib chapter titles ("Not the Suite Life: Ten Hotel Suicides"), as well as lists of facts that read dangerously close to DIY instruction. One can almost forgive the relentlessly upbeat tone, however, as the book proves hopelessly dreary, even for the most morbid of tabloid-readers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061728563
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/15/2009
Pages:
325
Sales rank:
515,643
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

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What People are saying about this

Jerry Stahl
“A truly unique, compelling and strangely life-affirming work of literary investigation. The perfect book to get you through the night. ”
A.J. Jacobs
“Dark, grisly, and completely fascinating. I almost felt guilty for so thoroughly enjoying this look at history’s most tormented souls.”
Michael Largo
“Strauss brilliantly exposes the devilry in the details and makes the profoundly moving, self-inflicted end-days of the greats a fascinating read.”
Rona Jaffe
“A truly unique, compelling and strangely life-affirming work of literary investigation. The perfect book to get you through the night. ”

Meet the Author

Alix Strauss is a lifestyle trend writer who appears on national morning and talk shows. Her articles have been published in the New York Times, Marie Claire, Time, and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications. She is the author of The Joy of Funerals, Have I Got a Guy for You, and Death Becomes Them: Unearthing the Suicides of the Brilliant, the Famous, and the Notorious.

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Death Becomes Them 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
John Hopwood More than 1 year ago
This book seems to get all the important details but in a story kind of way making the reading fun and informative.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was interesting to find out about the supposed mind sets of the people in the limelight who had apparently did theirselves "in."
jerseygirl65 More than 1 year ago
this book had me gripped at the first page!! I did feel guilty at reading this but it was so good at the same time. I loved this book. So juicy and suspensful and so gripping. I couldnt put this book down. I read it over and over. I just couldnt get enough of this book. I give it 11 out of 10 stars!! Alix needs at part 2 of this book. It holds your interest and doesnt let you go like a poe book. I was so drawn to this that it just wouldnt let me go. Its a must read and you will be drawn and caught up into it too. Thanks for a top 10 and must read. Looking forward to a follow-up!!
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