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Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock
The Charlatan of this novel's title is Dr. John Brinkley, who apparently wasn't a doctor at all. At a time between the two world wars when doctors, both real and fake, pushed medicines and surgeries on a gullible public, Brinkley was probably one of the best at it. He convinced men that planting goat testicles in their bodies would restore their virility. Despite maiming and killing many of his patients, Brinkley became a wealthy man who made two runs for the governorship of Kansas. When he wanted to use the new technology of radio to promote his ideas, and the government wouldn't let him run one of sufficient power to soothe his ego, he set up a transmitter just across the Mexican border that could reach most of the country. His downfall came at the hands of Morris Fishbein of the American Medical Association, who made it his life's work to bring down Brinkley. Pope Brock's book has received positive reviews with the Chicago Sun-Times saying, "If the book has a flaw, it is that by the end Brinkley is still a cipher -- perhaps he has no soul to grasp -- but it says something that you finish wishing you knew more about his inner life. And perhaps a book that is about so much suffering and death shouldn't be as fun to read as this one, but Brock lights a roman candle and the reader can't help but ooh and ahh."