This book is a bit grim, but no less entertaining for it. Dipping into this collection historical legends and their last meals is like having a bowl of potato chips on your lap, hard to stop reaching for the next one.
These small biographies and contextual histories–who they are, how they got there–include characters from Cleopatra to General Custer and what they might have eaten for their last meal. Some of the menus are documented, like the menu for the last dinner on the Titanic, others are Caldwell’s recreations of what might have been–like Alexander the Great’s last meal of seafood with mango and pepper relish, honey-glazed lamb, and Sardinian lobster.
But Caldwell seems like more of a chef than a historian. He doesn’t include sources to document the final meals, but does include cooking tips for grilling and marinating.
All in all, Hitler, Princess Diana, Julius Ceasar, and Elvis Presley make for an interesting dinner party.