by sam on 09/8/2010

CharlatanCharlatan by Pope Brock

Thoroughly enjoyable, I found the Epilogue to be the most disturbing section, with the surfeit of modern-day analogues to “Dr.” Brinkley’s methods.

The story of quacks wouldn’t be nearly as fascinating without the legions of ready and willing customers for their too-good-to-be-true methods. Here was a guy who suckered untold numbers of people into getting goat testicles implanted into them. And only after decades of practice did they turn on him.

But…fascinating read, and I’d highly recommend it.

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Addendum: I finally got to watch this week’s Mad Men, and with talk of Bert Cooper’s “procedure”, I couldn’t help but be glad that I read this book – he’s the right age, and it sounds like he ended up with one of these “rejuvenation” surgeries that amounted to little more than a botched vasectomy in the 1920s/30s.

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