Just finished reading a marvellous book by Pope Brock called Charlatan. I will use the Amazon summary to give a precis of the subect matter.
'In 1917, John R. Brinkley–America’s most brazen con man–introduced an outlandish surgical method for restoring fading male virility.
It was all nonsense, but thousands of eager customers quickly made “Dr.” Brinkley one of America’s richest men–and a national celebrity. The great quack buster Morris Fishbein vowed to put the country’s “most daring and dangerous” charlatan out of business, yet each effort seemed only to spur Brinkley to new heights of ingenuity, and the worlds of advertising, broadcasting, and politics soon proved to be equally fertile grounds for his potent brand of flimflam.
Culminating in a decisive courtroom confrontation, Charlatan is a marvelous portrait of a boundlessly audacious rogue on the loose in an America ripe for the bamboozling.'
An extraordinary story, and incredible that despite such a history we still have to endure superquackery to this day. Can you imagine having goats bollocks surgically implanted in order to make you more of a man?
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