Michael Largo is the author of the Bram Stoker Award-winning Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die, The Portable Obituary: How the Famous, Rich, and Powerful Really Died, and three novels.
From a Q & A with the author about The Portable Obituary:
What is this new book about?Read the entire Q & A.
I believe the manner of death is the most concise summary and perhaps the true epitaph of a person’s life. In many obituaries, and in many biographies, the true cause of death is often omitted, though in fact reveals the most poignant snapshot of an individual’s life. It’s not the last words but the last days that tell of the life lived before. I agree with Matthew Arnold when he said, “The truth sits upon the lips of dying men.”
Who's included in the book?
There are over 1,000 famous people in The Portable Obituary, primarily included because we’re often fascinated with celebrities who seem larger than life, but aren’t allowed to know how they really handled death. I wanted to see if their famous deeds and accomplishments influenced their process of dying. On one level, I wanted to know if their death matched the courage, adventure, hardship, joy, or actions they portrayed in life. After working on The Portable Obituary I found that life, famous or not, can only be fully understood backward.