Charlatan-Friday Book Review

I just finished this book about Dr. Brinkley.  I was first introduced this infamous man in Kansas history.  Brinkley didn’t really have an “official” doctors license other than those he received from diploma mills or as an honorary degree.  However, he was a very good at making people believe in his methods as well as the value of the medical help he provided.  He did much of his work with “goat gland” surgeries, but he also sold his own medicines.

Brinkley did something truly revolutionary in marketing his services.  He started his own radio station to be on the air that featured medical advice, commercials for his products, and endorsements.  He became so popular that when he ran for governor for the state of Kansas he almost won, and probably would have if not for a last-minute effort by his opposition.

I enjoyed reading this book.  It was interesting, and horrifying at the same time.  It focused not only on Brinkley but also on other “quack” doctors of the time.  It is amazing that even though we feel so removed from the type of society that would let this happen, we really aren’t.  We are still willing to try almost anything to regain and maintain health.


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