“You see! This is how you die.” – Coco Chanel
“Shoot straight, you bastards! Don’t make a mess of it!” – Breaker Morant
“If any of you have a message for the devil, give it to me, for I am about to meet him!” – Lavinia Fisher
“I am dying. Please … bring me a toothpick.” – Alfred Jarry
Funny, reflective, scornful or delirious, we are fascinated by famous last words because, humanity in extremis, they seem to tell us something about ourselves. Featuring lovers, killers, artists, traitors, spies, rulers, poets and pariahs, this thoughtful volume brings together the hedonists and the fatalists, the pragmatists and the optimists in a collection of famous last utterances – and the stories behind them – from throughout history.