"Well, it's been a great game of golf, fellas." So said Bing Crosby on the final green of a Spanish golf course in 1977, just after he'd sunk his final putt. Minutes later the Hollywood legend was taken ill and died. But final pronouncements of the great and the good, and even the not-so-good, before they depart this world aren't the only subject of Famous Last Words. The book takes a huge diversity of quotes and statements to produce a lexicon of finality, whether it be the pronouncements of businessmen before being sacked, military men before they were defeated, or sportsmen and women before they were humbled. Famous Last Words also draws from traditional sources such as classic wills and obituaries, famous farewells - both real and fictional - famous last stands, deathbed utterances - inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, kept it short, "No!" - and the well-turned phrases of cemetery headstones.
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Laura Ward is a journalist, writer and compulsive quote collector from SE11, London. Other books for Robson include Foolish Words, ISBN 1-86105-657-5, a compendium of quotations that people wished they'd never said.
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