Monday, April 14, 2008

Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous

New book review... by Head Butler. Not Butler Community College, mind you, but the site of Jesse Kornbluth, for Happens that it's a book about a Kansan. Happens that we have it here.


April 14, 2008 ISSUE # 0698

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Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam
Pope Brock

John R. Brinkley snipped the testicles from a goat.

He made neat incisions on the comparable zone of a male patient.

He tossed the goat testicles in and sewed the patient up.

He charged $750 for this operation. (In the 1920s, when he plied the surgeon's trade, that was the equivalent of about $7,500 today.)

Sixteen thousand men submitted.

More than a few died.

How did this grotesque medical fraud happen? Well, Brinkley started in Kansas, where the citizenry apparently has a soft spot for charlatans. His claims appealed to the rest of the country because, writes Pope Brock, “When it came to physicians, Americans not only tolerated but demanded incompetence.” And he got away it with it because, as late as the 1920s, most states had no licensing requirements for doctors.

For the rest of the review today, use this link. After today, check his archives...

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