Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving

Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving

by Mo Rocca


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From beloved CBS Sunday Morning correspondent and humorist Mo Rocca, an entertaining and rigorously researched book that celebrates the dead people who have long fascinated him.

Mo Rocca has always loved obituaries—reading about the remarkable lives of global leaders, Hollywood heavyweights, and innovators who changed the world. But not every notable life has gotten the send-off it deserves. His quest to right that wrong inspired Mobituaries, his #1 hit podcast. Now with Mobituaries, the book, he has gone much further, with all new essays on artists, entertainers, sports stars, political pioneers, founding fathers, and more. Even if you know the names, you’ve never understood why they matter...until now.

Take Herbert Hoover: before he was president, he was the “Great Humanitarian,” the man who saved tens of millions from starvation. But after less than a year in the White House, the stock market crashed, and all the good he had done seemed to be forgotten. Then there’s Marlene Dietrich, well remembered as a screen goddess, less remembered as a great patriot. Alongside American servicemen on the front lines during World War II, she risked her life to help defeat the Nazis of her native Germany. And what about Billy Carter and history’s unruly presidential brothers? Were they ne’er-do-well liabilities...or secret weapons? Plus, Mobits for dead sports teams, dead countries, the dearly departed station wagon, and dragons. Yes, dragons.

Rocca is an expert researcher and storyteller. He draws on these skills here. With his dogged reporting and trademark wit, Rocca brings these men and women back to life like no one else can. Mobituaries is an insightful and unconventional account of the people who made life worth living for the rest of us, one that asks us to think about who gets remembered, and why.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501197628
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 11/05/2019
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,992
Product dimensions: 9.40(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Mo Rocca is a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning, host of The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation, and host and creator of the Cooking Channel’s My Grandmother’s Ravioli, in which he learned to cook from grandmothers and grandfathers across the country. He’s also a frequent panelist on NPR’s hit weekly quiz show Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me! Rocca spent four seasons as a correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He began his career in TV as a writer and producer for the Emmy and Peabody Award–winning PBS children’s series Wishbone. As an actor, Mo starred on Broadway in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Rocca is the author of All the Presidents’ Pets, a historical novel about White House pets and their role in presidential decision-making.

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Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
LawladyCase 12 days ago
Mobituaries is a book that will teach you about history as you chuckle. Mo Rocca does an amazing job at informing the reader about different people such as Thomas Payne and Sammy Davis, Jr. in an interesting and exciting manner. He follows that information with additional information that should be contained in a proper obituary. These are fascinating. For instance, Mo tells us about earlier use of a long S in American writing and the death of the station wagon. McDonalds’ drinking glass demise is covered under “…and other things from the 1970s that could’ve killed us.” This is an enjoyable book by a fun and optimistic journalistic (nod to his father intended). I received an ARC from Quarto Publishing through NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinion or rating of this book. I am voluntarily submitting this review and am under no obligation to do so.
Denice_L 3 months ago
Mo Rocca has written the kind of book that I absolutely love! Name dropping starts on page 1 and continues through the last sentence of the last page. Fun, interesting facts about people from history that you thought you knew but really didn't. It's like when you find out one of your relatives was a great politician, or a great moonshiner...either way, it's a fun read that you'll share with everyone you know. Makes a great trivia reference too.
BuddyG 5 months ago
This book was a very nice surprise. I wasn't very familiar with author Mo Rocca when I got the book, but I saw it on a New Releases list and I was immediately interested when I saw what it was about. I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to how much I love pop culture, trivia, and even obituaries of "obscure" people, so I had a feeling this book might be right up my alley. I'm glad I picked it up because it was very enjoyable to read. I immediately liked Rocca's writing style and now I'm anxious to explore more of his works. In this book, he uses humor, of course, but what's nice is that it's not some absurd collection of silly stories about people who have died. Mo Rocca obviously did a lot of research while writing this book. He not only shows a lot of knowledge of the things he writes about, but he also shows respect for those he features in the stories he shares. While there may be humor, he doesn't turn their lives into jokes. As a reader, I very much appreciated and respected that. It was not only a fun book to read, but it was also incredibly informative. I learned far more than I expected to when I picked up the book. I'm very glad I read it and highly recommend it to others. *I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for a fair review.
rcahill 6 months ago
Comedian Mo Rocca hosts a successful podcast, Mobituaries, that examines the lives of those who were lost to history. For one reason or another, each of the selected individuals made an important impact, but than faded (or was erased) from the history books. Rocca takes the opportunity to jump from podcast to book to revisit the lives of these people and essentially rewrite what is currently written. There will be names you have heard of, think Audrey Hepburn and Herbert Hoover, some you haven’t, for example Chang and Ang Bunker. There is even a remembrance close to my heart, for the oak trees at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, AL, War Eagle! The book is a careful balance between humor and research and provides insight into important figures, events, and locations in history. This book would be an excellent gift for the history buff in your life.
AUByrd 6 months ago
This is probably best as a book you put out for the “occasional” read, so that the reader can peruse it for the people or things they find the most interesting. Each short chapter reads more like the research information and/or script that would accompany the podcast of Mobituaries, and as such is best read in short spurts. I believe the book would also be preferable as an audiobook one might choose to listen to as they do their daily exercises for example. As someone who has enjoyed various reports from Mo Rocca, particularly on CBS Sunday Morning, I could often hear his voice giving the information, particularly when he would interject some of his clever, dry humor. Those were, perhaps, the best passages for me, with one exception. As an Auburn University alumna, I enjoyed reading his information that gave the history of Auburn’s famous tradition of papering Toomer’s corners and the story of how the trees were poisoned by a somewhat overzealous (to put it politely) Alabama fan. It was also interesting to me to learn the history of the two schools, which went a long way toward explaining the great divide. Not being a native of the state, I never quite understood the depth of passion that I often found existed between the two sets of supporters. The MOBITUARIES’ chapter gave me an insight I didn’t have before, and also is the best example for why I think this book is best for those who want to look in depth at a particular subject or individual. I could easily see this book in a doctor’s waiting room, on a coffee table, or in the basket of “while you’re here” reading people sometimes put in their bathroom. My thanks to Simon and Schuster Publishing and NetGalley for providing me an Advanced Digital Read copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
Jill-Elizabeth_dot_com 6 months ago
This one did not wind up being what I expected at all. I like Mo Rocca, but like a couple of the other reviewers, think a big part of why I like him is his timing and delivery - neither of which come across very well in a printed word format. If he was reading the audiobook, this would probably be a lot more engaging. I also felt like a lot of what he wrote was not what I expected - to me, obituaries are not lengthy historical narratives written like textbooks. They are shorter and pithier, and that is not what a lot of these presentations are. That's not to say that they're poorly written or uninteresting, they just weren't at all what I expected. It made it difficult to read in long bursts. This is the second book-from-podcasts I've read recently and they're reaffirming why I'm not a fan of podcasts... If you are a fan of that format and like your reading in shorter bursts as opposed to longer narratives that draw you in and won't let you go, you are probably a better audience for this one than I was... Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my obligation-free review copy.
AMGiacomasso 6 months ago
A well researched, interesting and entertaining book that mixes humour and history. The author is a gifted storyteller and I liked how he tells the stories. I will surely look for his podcast as I enjoyed this book. Highly recommended! Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
AMGiacomasso 6 months ago
A well researched, interesting and entertaining book that mixes humour and history. The author is a gifted storyteller and I liked how he tells the stories. I will surely look for his podcast as I enjoyed this book. Highly recommended! Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
sban 6 months ago
I wish to thank Net Galley and the publisher Simon and Schuster for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book. I have voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Mo is a contributor to Jane Pauley’s CBS Sunday Morning program. I have always enjoyed his broadcasts and now this book exposes you to so much more of his genius. He is a born storyteller. If you love history this book will amaze and delight you. It is so funny you will be laughing out loud for most of it. This is not a book that you will want to read from cover to cover at one sitting. Please allow a lot of time to savor and learn as you go. Each page will reveal utterly unknown facts about places, people, history, Presidents and so much more. If you find yourself drawn to obituaries in your local paper than this book is for you. I dare you to read it and not find yourself quoting these unknown facts to anyone who will listen.
kasacKC 7 months ago
The best adjective to describe Mo Rocca is "curious." From a very early age, his seemingly insatiable curiosity has led him to seek out facts, particularly in areas in which he is passionate about -- subjects as diverse as they are intriguing. This may have started earlier, but his love of the 1974 World Book Encyclopedia and continued fascination with its depth of interest led to his having it today line the walls of his bedroom. Mobituaries the podcast led to this eponymous book in which Rocca provides sendoffs for people (and things ad even places) that didn't get their just due when they died. He provides a brief history of why the person (place or thing) is important and worthy of remembrance. There is so much to love in this book. As a contributor to CBS Sunday Morning, he talked about his podcast and book, which covers material not on the podcast, and aired the fascinating segment on Herbert Hoover. One of his loves is visiting Presidents' homes and libraries, even the disgraced "bad" ones. (Will he ever visit Trump Tower?) I experienced his passion for musical comedy once at a reunion of the cast and creators (Stephen Sondheim!) of Into the Woods. What makes these essays so much fun to read is hearing in my head his distinctive voice, since there is so much humor and warmth throughout. Very very highly recommended.
Shelly9677 7 months ago
This is a great book for fans of the Mobituaries podcast. Mo Rocca presents more fascinating anecdotes of the deceased who led interesting lives that mattered. The conversational style of writing is light , witty and informative. These short biographies are delivered as only Mo Rocca can, chock full of complexity and nuance, simplicity and brilliance.
Tangen 7 months ago
historical-figures, historical-research, history, verbal-humor, world-history People, places, things, TV shows, and more! Anyone who has any kind of interest in any kind of history will geek this book as much as I do. I never had a lot of interest in TV (working off shifts is part of it) so I've never seen the author's contributions there, but I have now subscribed to the Mobituaries podcasts. I'm tempted to list the chapter headings, but that would get crazy. So, I'll just leave you with the idea that this is a great read and also a great gift. I requested and received a free ebook copy from Simon and Schuster Publishing via NetGalley. Thank you!
Rachel_Denise01 7 months ago
Mobituaries by Mo Rocca is an ingenious and hilarious book written by Mr Rocca himself (he is just so downright witty ) and is so full of interesting facts and history that one does not even realize how much they are learning until they finish the book and say , “Wow. I cant believe I never knew that”. This book was so interesting that I was able to read it in 2 days. This man is comical, engaging, brilliant, and thought-provoking. I am impressed with this read and am determined to seek out more sources involving Mo Rocca so that I can become engaged yet again in his hilarious educational presentations. Only he would be able to keep me this engaged and entertained while learning. He most certainly has a gift. 5/5 stars
MKF 7 months ago
What a treat! I've never listened to the podcast but I've watched Rocca for years on Sunday morning. His voice comes through loud in clear in this fascinating collection of obituaries. Handle this as if it were a volume of short stories- dip in and out. You'll learn something new even about the historical figures you've read about for years (Herbert Hoover). AND, there are obituaries for things such as the station wagon. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. It's lighthearted but never loses sight of history and the impact these people had. It's perfect for trivia fans and those who like to know the rest of the story.