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

by Alix Strauss


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Author Alix Strauss takes a provocative look at the self-imposed deaths of the famous and infamous in Death Becomes Them. In this fascinating and intimate chronicle of celebrity suicides, the spotlight shines on the lonely last moments of Kurt Cobain and Ernest Hemingway, Abbie Hoffman and Adolf Hitler, Dorothy Dandridge, Sigmund Freud, Hunter S. Thompson, and others. Death Becomes Them explores their sadness and madness, their accomplishments and the circumstances that led to their irreversible decision, and wishes them all a fond final good-bye.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061728563
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/15/2009
Pages: 325
Sales rank: 737,082
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About 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.

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. ”

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Death Becomes Them 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 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!!
meggyweg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Certainly this was quite an interesting book, profiling cases of many famous people (almost all from the twentieth or twenty-first century, a few from the latter half the 1800s). However I am a bit uneasy about accuracy. One of the reviews below says the Sylvia Plath entry contained many inaccuracies, and in the "sources" section it said Wikipedia was a major source. I love Wikipedia as much as anyone else but it's hardly unimpeachable.Nevertheless, a book worth your time reading if you are interested in the subject.
pksteinberg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If the article on "Sylvia Plath" in Alix Strauss' Death Becomes Them: Unearthing the Suicides of the Brilliant, the Famous, & the Notorious (Harper Collins, 2009) is typical of the others in the book, the general population that reads this work will, in the company of those who know something of the subject discussed, make fools of themselves.There are some truly heinous mistakes in the Plath piece. I forced myself not to jump right to Plath and read with interest about Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, and Hunter S. Thompson. I looked forward to Anne Sexton after Plath. I admit I don't know much about the suicides of the other people in the book, but after the Plath chapter I was so completely turned off to the point that the book in my hand was replaced by chocolate.There are far too many errors for me to try to correct here, but I'll just list a few because I cannot help myself. Before I continue, however, I do have to say that the book I received, kindly from Strauss' publicist, is an advanced, uncorrected proof. Some of these errors may have been corrected before the book was published. The copy of the book I browsed briefly in a Borders book store seemed to be very similar, textually speaking, to my proof copy. In writing this, I am reminded of something my mother always said to me: "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." I've always been a bit stubborn (comments to the blog on this point will be removed).The format will follow my previous reviews that have warrented such scrutiny. I'll list the page number, the quote from the book, followed by the "correction" or some other snarky or potentially offensive comment.Pg 57"Born: October 27, 1932, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts." - Nope. Born in Boston, Massachusetts."Died: February 11, 1963, Court Green House, Devon England." - Nope. Plath died at 23 Fitzroy Road, London, England. Inconsistently, the location was correct later in the text."Discovered by: The nanny" - Nope. Myra Norris was a nurse not a nanny; and the construction person was a construction person. Inconsistently, Norris' occupation was correct later in the text."Funeral: Among the long list of eminent writers present at her funeral, close friend Anne Sexton gave a touching eulogy and talked openly about the two women's attraction to suicide." - Seriously? Is this fiction? This is grotesquely inaccurate and unintentionally laughable. The only eminent writer at her funeral was her husband.At the risk of this review starting to look like Letters Home or The Journals of Sylvia Plath (1982), ... ... (omission) ... ...Pg 61"It took only a few months [following their wedding] for Ted to have an affair, with Assia Wevill..." - Nope. Way wrong."By 1960 Sylvia and Ted each had dueling books of poetry published..." - Not really. Scales were heavily in Hughes' favor.Pg 62"[At the time of her death Plath left] Ariel and Other Poems... on the table near the front door, like a present waiting to be opened." - No. The manuscript was in her study.Pg 63"...a folded towel acted as a substitute for a blanket, which she used to support her head on the stove's open door." - No. A report at the time of her death indicates that her head was deep in the oven.Pg 64"On February 15, friends and family piled into St. Pancras County Court..." - Not quite accurate."Shortly after Sylvia's funeral, her friend Elizabeth was sent a letter by Assia, now Ted's wife." - Nope. Ted Hughes never married Assia Wevill. He did refer to her in a letter as his "true wife" at one point, but as far as I know astrological or cosmic marriage is not a recognized form of marriage.There is more, the following comments on inaccuracies and errors in the book are from Gail Crowther. I'd quote at length from Strauss' text but likely won't obtain permission to reprint the WHOLE THING.p. 59 Aurelia Plath wasn't at the movies during SP's first suicide attempt but at her friend's house watching a recording of the coronation of Elizabeth II on he
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Death Become Them" by Alix Strauss is an absolutely amazing book. It gives so many details of the famous actors, authors, musicians, powerful people, and artists. Very specific details that shows how their suicides lead up to that point. I would highly recommend this book to absolutely anybody that is interested in topics like these. I've always been interested in suicide and this book is better than any other I've ever read. Highly recommend it.
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