Charlatan: America’s most dangerous huckster, the man who pursued him, and the age of flimflam
by Pope Brock
Review from Library Journal: In this lively and absorbing biography, Brock deftly captures the consummate snake-oil salesman and gifted entrepreneur John R. Brinkley (1885–1942), in his day America’s most famous (albeit uncredentialed) doctor. Not content peddling useless potions to the gullible for decent profits, Brinkley pursued fame and riches and built a wildly successful business transplanting goat testicles into thousands of men and even some women, from the poor to movie stars and politicians, all conned into parting with $750 and risking their lives for a miracle cure for impotence, infertility, or other ailments. Brock (Indiana Gothic ) frames Brinkley’s show-stopping exploits with a well-drawn portrait of Morris Fishbein, the editor of JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association , who worked for decades to discredit Brinkley, whom he considered the most dangerous quack in the land. Brinkley, the subject of earlier biographies, including R. Alton Lee’s recent The Bizarre Careers of John R. Brinkley , masterminded innovative marketing techniques still in use today, ran a close race for governor of Kansas, and built the first “border blaster” high-wattage radio station in Mexico, his influence thus extending even into music and broadcasting in America.
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