QI: The Book of the Dead

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Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 November Retrieved 1 December The QI Book of the Dead. London: Faber and Faber.

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The UK cover. John Lloyd John Mitchinson. For example, in the sex mad chapter, it talks about a meeting between Giacomo Casanova, the greatest lover of women in history, and Catherine the Great, a woman who liked a bit of hanky-panky too, but is now remembered for an entirely apocryphal tale about her dying whilst having sex with a horse - she in fact had a stroke while on the lavatory and died some hours later in bed much more dignified.


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So, what happened when these two lovers met? They talked about bringing the Russian calendar into line with the rest of Europe. An example of a more obscure entry is General Antonio de Santa Anna, a one-legged Mexican who is the only person in history to have been head of state of the same nation on eleven separate occasions one lasting less than two weeks. Then there is Elizabeth, Empress of Austria, who was determined to always have a inch waist.

The QI Book of the Dead : John Lloyd (author), : : Blackwell's

Plus there's the story of Jack Parsons, an American rocket pioneer who had a rather keen interest in Satan and later declared himself the Antichrist. There are also people who will probably be always remembered for the wrong reason. Francis Galton is the man who transformed statistics into a proper science, but he will no doubt be remembered by most as the father of eugenics.

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Meanwhile, Dr. John Dee, a brilliant mathematician during his time and, at one point, the world's biggest book collector, is now seen as an occultist magician. This book, like the previous three QI books, is entertaining and informative.

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It's also gloriously quirky. How many other books are there that mention that H. Wells slept with Nick Clegg's great-aunt, or that Salvador Dali spent most of his childhood deliberately annoying his father? It should be pointed out that this book is not perfect though.

John Lloyd

When reading through it, a couple of errors jumped out - most of which were grammatical or simply typos. However, there was one error which particularly caught the eye. In the section covering the life of philosopher and reformer Jeremy Bentham who, amongst other things, had a pet teapot!