This book review was conducted by Megan York, a small business owner and author of her blog aboyagirlandapug.blogspot.com.
Here’s a book that I guarantee will leave you entertained whether you savored or slept through History 101.
Michael A. Stusser, author of the The Dead Guy Interviews, allows us to “listen in” on some of the most sought out conversations with history’s most intriguing men and women. The author takes us along for his comical face to face meeting with forty-five, straight from the grave, history makers.
Any question is fair game here as the secrets come out for Alexander the Great, Ludwig van Beethoven, Napoleon Bonaparte, Buddha, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti, Julius Caesar, Caligula, George Washington Carver, Catherine the Great, Coco Chanel, Winston Churchill, Cleopatra, Confucius, Crazy Horse, Salvador Dali, Charles Darwin, Leonardo da Vinci, Emily Dickinson, Isadora Duncan, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Sigmund Freud, Henry VIII, J. Edgar Hoover, Harry Houdini, Thomas Jefferson, Joan of Arc, Robert Johnson, Frida Kahlo, Genghis Khan, Abraham Lincoln, Karl Marx, Montezuma, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Benito Mussolini, Nostradamus, Edgar Allen Poe, William Shakespeare, Sun Tzu, Nikola Tesla, Vincent van Gogh, George Washington, Mae West, Oscar Wilde and Mao Zedong.
I enjoyed all the interviews the author embarks on in this book. Stusser does an excellent job of bringing each interviewee to life with the articulation appropriate to each individual’s background. Take for example a quote from the interview with the queen of French fashion, Coco Chanel as she shares the origin of her most popular perfume, Chanel No. 5.
“Michael Stusser: Chanel No. 5. Why five?
- Coco Chanel: We had tried four other perfumes, yes? And zey were all unacceptable to me, until I smell zee number five, in 1923, and it was perfect. Voila!” (60).
Now how about the sixteenth president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, as he discovers the name of the man that took his life; and check out what he has to say about it too.
- “Michael Stusser: Changing to a tough subject: Did you know that John Wilkes Booth was the gunman?
Abraham Lincoln: Gunman? I just thought it was a long intermission.
- MS: You might not have been killed if your bodyguard wasn’t in the audience watching the play at the time.
- AL: Our American Cousin is a good show, so I don’t blame him. If it hadn’t been him, woulda been somebody else” (198).
I also loved getting to read about some of the history personalities that I knew very few details about. One in particular, Nikola Tesla, who is known for his invention of the AC, along with “the induction motor, the spark plug, the bladeless turbine, the loudspeaker, radar, transformers, fluorescent lighting, and principles that enable wireless technology to function” (251). What would we do if we could not be hooked up to the internet in Starbucks®? Well thank goodness for Mr. Tesla’s invention that provides that little luxury. And with all of Tesla’s great inventions you would think he would have died a billionaire, but as you will find that was not in his cards.
- “Michael Stusser: How does the man who invents electricity not become the richest guy in the world?
- Nikola Tesla: Money is not my motivator, you see? I wish to show the world my ideas and free human kind from hard labor.
- MS: But you hooked up with George Westinghouse, right? He had tons of money.
- NT: Mr. Westinghouse offered one million dollars for my patents, and a royalty-one dollar per horsepower. This would have made me billions. BILLIONS, I tell you!
- MS: You deserve it. How else am I going to power up my fridge or, more importantly, my flat screen TV, baby! Five feet o’ plasma magic!
- NT: Yes, tell me about this, I know! But times get hard with Depression, and George comes to me and says if I might be good man and drop this royalty provision because it means end of Westinghouse company. This man take chance on me four years earlier, give me million on spot, show world my electrical power system” (254).
Do not be put back though if you know little or nothing of the background of these figures. Stusser gets you caught up with a brief biography before each interview. Now you can shock all your friends and family at your next dinner party with all your newfound knowledge of these great history makers.