Monday, December 7, 2020

Nonfiction Review: Mobituaries, by Mo Rocca (audiobook)

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Title: Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving

Author: Mo Rocca (read by the author)

Publication Info: Simon and Schuster Audio, 2019. Hardback, Simon and Schuster, 2019, 384 pages. 

Source: Library digital resources 

Publisher's Blurb: 

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.

My Review:

By the time you get through that blurb, I'm not sure how much there is left for me to say, except that the last paragraph of the blurb is pretty much spot on. I found the stories interesting and his delivery excellent (as you'd expect from a performer). I learned a bunch of things (I didn't know that about Herbert Hoover, who went on to be the president who got the blame for the Great Depression--remember "Hoovervilles"?), and enjoyed doing it.

Pretty much the only thing I found to complain about were some sections where he follows a well-developed story about one person or entity with a series of basically one-line similar cases. I wanted to know more about most of those!

My Recommendation:

This was great listening while driving, and the relatively short segments would also work well for times when you don't want to commit to a whole book at once. Check it out for some enjoyable, not too ponderous, bits of biography and history!

FTC Disclosure: I checked Mobituaries out of my library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising." 


  1. Sounds like an interesting read and a great one for when you're on the road.

    1. Yeah, I like the little snippets for driving--somehow it's easier to keep track, and if you do lose something, well, another one is always coming right up!

  2. Not knowing Mo Rocca, it doesnt really rock me :)

    1. He's a regular on one of my favorite radio shows, NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," the ridiculous news quiz show :)


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