J.R. Brinkley: The Heal-All Huckster

Charlatan book coverAccording to John R. Brinkley, goat glands reinstated, revitalized and cured over twenty-seven ailments from emphysema to the baby-making vigor of both men and women. Brinkley started a sixteen-room clinic in Milford, Kansas in 1918. No matter that Brinkley operated while inebriated and hadn’t finished his degree at a reputable institution, Brinkley gave folks what they wanted, a glass half-full of hope. When Brinkley wasn’t recklessly implanting goat parts into people, he was broadcasting prescriptions on the radio without ever having met his patients to diagnose them properly. Meanwhile, Dr. Morris Fishbein, editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association and quack buster extraordinaire, had had quite enough of Brinkley’s fraudulent medicine. Charlatan recounts Brinkley’s sordid career and Fishbein’s obsession with exterminating it.