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QI The Book of the Dead Hardcover – 5 Nov 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber (5 Nov. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571244904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571244904
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.7 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

About the Author

John Lloyd has a broadcasting background. As a radio producer he devised The News Quiz and To the Manor Born before moving to television to start Not the Nine O'Clock News, Spitting Image, and Blackadder. If pressed, he'd concur with Heraclitus: 'abundance of knowledge does not teach men to be wise.'

John Mitchinson is from the world of books. The original Marketing Director of Waterstone's, he became Managing Director of Cassell, where he published The Beatles, Michael Palin and Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. He's with Einstein: 'There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.'

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Reddy on 23 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover
As a fan of QI, I've been fortunate to read many of the books and view the series. Although other reviewers have pointed out grammatical and typographical errors, I must say I was too fascinated by the content to notice them! In my endless search for trivia, rarely known facts and all round interestingness, for once, a book took me considerable time to read, whereas I normally fly through them. Why? I found this book so interesting I didn't want to put it down! What an insight into the lives of people we THINK we know/knew, proving yet again the outstanding research that all involved with the QI franchise do. It also shows that we should never assume anything; too many urban myths and legends are repeated today, and this book should also dispel some of those. We should learn more about noteables, yes, but we should learn the CORRECT information about them, which is why I found this book so fascinating. This is the sort of book that every trivia buff or person who regularly quotes "Did you know..." or for someone who just could do with a dose of interesting in their lives. Far from being dry and dull as many factoid type books can be, it actually had me chuckling or saying "Really??" out loud! Another outstanding effort from the QI Team. A QI Book of the Dead II, perhaps?
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By A. I. McCulloch TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Following the success of the initial QI book and follow-ups such as the Book of Animal Facts, a plethora of hastily - written, badly produced "facts" books appeared on the market. Some of the facts in imitators books were questionable, many based on inaccurate website content.

Perhaps in recognition of this, The QI Book of The Dead has chapters, rather than chunks of info in alphabetical or other order as in previous books. The criteria for grouping people together are somewhat bizarre,as mentioned, but also interesting - as you'd expect. One supposed "fact" is debunked here. There are not as many people alive now as have ever lived. The dead outnumber us by nine to one. (So just why did we ever believe otherwise? Interesting!)

I also wonder if the proofreader read this over lunch; it was certainly done on an off day. No doubt those glitches will be ironed out in the paperback. It might be best to wait, if you can. But if you can't, another really interesting read awaits.
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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Munchkin061271 on 18 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I love Q.I. in all it's forms - the series, the books, the website - so the arrival of a new book was a cause of some celebration for me. This time around, the book is a series of potted biographies of noteworthy folk through the ages. For an added twist, they're summarised not by the times they lived in, or even alphabetically... the various figures are categorised according to things that they had in common. So, Freud, Hans Christian Andersen and Da Vinci all wind up in the same chapter because they had absent or bad fathers! It's quirky, but it works. Like the show, this is packed with 'well-I-never' moments, and proves to be a very addictive read. One criticism though - there are so many basic errors in the presentation, you can't help but feel it must've been thrown together in a rush. For example, in the first chapter alone, words are repeated unnecessarily in the same sentence, causing the reader to skid to a halt and re-read for fear of having missed the point. And poor old Hans Christian has his surname go from Andersen to Anderson, then back to Andersen, more than once on the same page! All right, this might be picky, but this is a chunky, reasonably expensive book - you'd hope it was at least proof-read once or twice.
All in all, good fun - and recommended for all fans of the series, or trivia buffs.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Iqbal on 17 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Did you know that Issac Newton was a member of parliament in his lifetime? Or that Hans Christian Anderson was terrified of naked women?

If you're a fan of QI, you probably know what this book's all about and will already be trawling the shops in search of a copy. However, you don't need to be a convert to all things Stephen Fry to enjoy this offering. The Book of the Dead provides the reader with mini-biographies of some of histories greatest figures (and some lesser known past marvels) with the only criteria for entry being the subject's interesting life.

Though the book has a couple of minor problems: there are a lot of proofing mistakes and the themes that link historical figures can sometimes be tenuous; it's well worth a read and full of fascinating information told in a humourous fashion. It's the type of thing that'll make a great Xmas present for someone or will be a light, fun travel read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs L J on 26 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is informative and entertaining. Ideal for those who enjoy snippets of information but for those who like to delve deeper, it whets the appetite, prompting one to find out more. I have bought a number of books that would have passed me by if I hadn't read this book
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tomasz Stasinski on 6 Feb. 2011
Format: Hardcover
There are so many books that I pick up with high hopes only to put them down unfinished. The QI Book of the Dead is not one of them. John Lloyd and John Mitchinson know how to write, how to keep the reader captivated, how to breathe life into whatever subject they choose. It was only a matter of time then before I laid my hands on their biographies of a few dozen famous fab people like Freud, Franklin or Ford and another few dozen of those fairly foggy like Fordyce, Fernando Passoa or Francis Buckland.

Never shy of controversy, like they did with animals in their previous book, the authors here too seem to focus on the bits that school course books and sanitized biographies usually leave out: sex, sex and sex. You probably ken the sexual conquests of Casanova and Sophie Frederica Auguste (better known as Catherine the Great), but it's a fair bet your memory cogs won't instantly clink at the names of Cora Pearl or Colette. Neither will you suspect H.G Wells of living in an open marriage with numerous lovers and countless prostitutes well into his 70s. Among other people mentioned who clearly enjoyed having it off are Franklin, Genghis Khan, Emma Hamilton, Marie Bonaparte, and Jack Parsons.

A surprising number of people turns out to be bisexual (e.g. Byron, Andersen); homosexual (da Vinci, Newton); addicted to masturbation (Andersen, Dali); otherwise obsessed with sex (Freud, John Dee). Conversely, if someone didn't live and die a sex maniac the authors brand them sexually suppressed (Mary Kingsley, Florence Nightingale) or a lifelong virgin (Nikola Tesla, again Newton and Andersen among others). It's probably only appropriate to quote Kinsey on that: 'the only unnatural sex act is one which you cannot perform'. He should know, he tried them all apparently.
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