Valley Cottage Library's Reviews > Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam

Charlatan by Pope Brock
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's review
Aug 25, 11

bookshelves: katie-pick, nonfiction
Read in August, 2011

This is a perfect case of truth being stranger than fiction. John R. Brinkley aspired to be the most successful quack doctor in the world. He developped a method of grafting "goat glands" into humans to cure a variety of ailments, he had a write-in radio show that gave medical advice and pointed listeners to his own "medicines," he created the world's largest radio station and even ran for governor of Kansas.

Despite his complete lack of ability as a "doctor," the public defended him and praised him - some while they were in great agony or on their deathbeds.

The sheer audacity of Brinkley, the public's immediate willingness to buy into anything he offered and the fact that all this went on for so long is completely astounding. It is a fascinating and horrifying story that is well written, and had me shaking my head through most of it.

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