Book Reviews

Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock

I loved this funny and informative book so much I read it in one sitting on a Sunday. This is the true story of Dr. John Brinkley – quack surgeon and his arch nemesis Dr. Morris Fishbein, editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Throughout the twenties and even during the Great Depression, Dr. Brinkley earned millions by inserting goat ovaries in infertile women and goat testicles in impotent men. In a time of ten thousand watt radio stations he built a million watt station heard throughout the nation popularizing country western music (his “show” couldn’t be all advertisement – he needed the Carter family for content). He even ran for governor of Kansas and almost won!
The only critism I have is that, I feel my credibility is being strained a bit – Mr. Brock seems to be writing with the film rights in mind. Nevertheless, best book I’ve read in the past year.

Blue Collar Blue Scrubs by Michael J. Collins

The unique story of how a working class kid rises from being  a “rockthrower” (as the author refers to himself)  to a surgeon. The author’s insightful description of life as a manual laborer is just as interesting as that as his life as a medical student.  Dr. Collins also raises some thought provoking issues regarding quality of life as regards the extension of life for terminal patients.

William Nolen’s classic “The Making of a Surgeon” (a very fine book) seems trivial by comparison. “Blue Collar, Blue Scrubs” is such  an extremely well written and moving memoir one is left with the feeling that Dr. Collins must be a very fine surgeon as well. Highly recommended.