mjm4449, August 8, 2009 (view all comments by mjm4449)
In the midst of a health care debate, Charlatan is a cautionary tale about the early days of how we got to this point. When health care was totally deregulated, we had doctors with few credentials making unfounded promises to turn back the age clock to make us more virile. Hey, I hear those commercials on the radio all the time and how many ED commercials do we really need to see on the television.
Want freedom of choice in health care? Charlatan will be in our future. Want to see how regulation can be circumvented, at least for awhile? Charlatan is in our future.
This book sticks with you. It may be a look back, but it also may be the cautionary tale about our health care future.
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Charlatan reads like a highly imaginative novel and is everything a work of popular history should be.
by Michal D.
by Janet Maslin, New York Times,
"Told with uproarious brio...heavenly...A book so lively that its wild stories are virtually wall-to-wall."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Wonderful American social history and lots of fun."
by Neil Steinberg, Chicago Sun-Times,
"An incredible story...Brock lights a roman candle and the reader can't help but ooh and ahh."
by Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune,
"You will devour Charlatan. With a vast and wild cast of characters, and filled with issues and topics that resonate through the years and are as close as the nearest computer, Charlatan...deserves to be a bestseller."
by Seattle Times,
"An irresistible and wide-ranging slice of cultural history....Charlatan deftly weaves the stories of these two colorful figures...Fascinating."
by USA Today,
"An entrancing book...Brock masterfully captures this amazing and amusing history."
by Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
"[This] stunning new nonfiction book chronicles, with a rollicking sense of fun mixed with outrage, the truly unbelievable career of Brinkley."
by The New Yorker,
"Brock captures the shamelessness and adaptability that make Brinkley fascinating."
by Financial Times,
"Superbly crafted and enthralling."
by Washington CEO,
"Brock exploits the outlandishness of Brinkley's escapades to brilliant comic effect."
by John Grooms, Creative Loafing,
"Charlatan is a fast, funny and fascinating read that begs to be made into a movie. It's an early contender for most entertaining non-fiction book of the year, and it's hard to imagine what book could come along to take away the prize."
by The Wichita Eagle,
"A rollicking biography — at turns funny and horrifying, brimming with wit, insight and who-knew facts....Brock's prose is a joy to read, bold and colorful and a little irreverent....Charlatan reads like a novel — but no one could make this stuff up."
by Heinz Kohler, Willard Long Thorp Professor of Economics, Emeritus Amherst College,
"This spellbinding saga of a once-famous medical man who left all too many corpses in his wake is nothing short of spectacular. Impeccably researched, smartly crafted, beautifully written, it's a pure joy to read. And dealing, as it does, with eternal traits of human greed and gullibility, this extraordinary book is timely as well as timeless....A mesmerizing must-read, written by a writer of exquisite talent....One is left with the kind of reaction one has after reading a masterpiece."
by James R. Gaines, author of For Liberty and Glory: Washington, LaFayette and Their Revolutions,
"Come one, come all, to the fabulous, hilarious world of rheostatic dynamizers, foot-powered breast enlargers, and goat-gland transplants — the surreal province of one John Brinkley, diploma-mill quack and flimflammer extraordinaire. With perfect pitch story-telling and wonderfully stylish prose, Pope Brock gives us a portrait of a master fraud as Brinkley works the ballyhou-stoked pseudo-science of the Twenties and Thirties to take in millions, while dodging ex-patients, the law, and the AMA. A dazzling cast of walk-ons includes Sinclair Lewis, Eugene V. Debs, a hypochondriacal H. L Mencken, Mussolini, and Sigmund Freud, not to mention Nora, the Monkey Turned Woman. Stranger than fiction doesn't really say it. This is a book you won't put down and a story you'll never forget."
"Shocking and hilarious in equal measure, this is an extraordinary story of greed, gullibility and goat-glands. In chronicling the outrageous career of John R. Brinkley, king of the quack doctors, Pope Brock has also written a cautionary tale for our own times — about celebrity, mass-marketing, media power, political huckstering and the dangerous allure of mumbo-jumbo. As irresistible as Brinkley's snake-oil, and far more invigorating, Charlatan is an instant classic." Francis Wheen, author of How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World and The Irresistable Con: The Bizarre Life of a Fraudulent Genius
by Stephen Barrett, M.D., Head, Quackwatch.org, author of The Health Robbers,
"A fascinating look at one of America's most dangerous quacks and the advertising and political maneuvering that sustained him. Must reading for everyone who wants to understand the dark side of the marketplace and the vulnerability of its victims."
by Wendy Moore, author of The Knife Man: Blood, Body-Snatching and the Birth of Modern Surgery,
"Astonishing....This masterfully told story of the world's most dangerous quack and the medical sleuth who tracked him down is a delight. Brock skilfully mines the narrow fissure between cutting-edge medicine and outrageous quackery while plumbing the depths of human credulity. His punchy, exuberant style is spot-on perfect for this improbable tale of money, murder and menace."
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