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In Conversation with: Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz
A smart, morbidly humorous look at medicine's greatest misfires through history, with vintage images and advertisements for cures and other quackery.
Imagine a time when doctors prescribed morphine for crying infants. When liquefied gold was touted as immortality in a glass. And when strychnine—yes, that strychnine, the one used in rat poison—was dosed like Viagra.
Looking back with fascination, horror, and not a little dash of dark, knowing humor, Quackery recounts the lively, at times unbelievable history of medical misfires and malpractices. Ranging from the merely weird to the outright dangerous, here are 67 outlandish, morbidly hilarious "treatments"— conceived by doctors and scientists, by spiritualists and snail oil salesmen—that were predicated on a range of cluelessness, trial and error, and straight-up scams. With vintage illustrations, photographs, and advertisements throughout, Quackery seamlessly combines macabre humor with science and storytelling to reveal an important and disturbing side of the ever-evolving field of medicine.
Written by Dr. Lydia Kang, a practicing physician, and Nate Pedersen, a journalist and historian, it's all here — the leeches, the arsenic drops, the water cures and radium spa hotels, the prefontal lobotomies. Do no harm? As if!
ABOUT LYDIA KANG
Lydia Kang, M.D., is a practicing internal medicine physician and author of young adult fiction and adult fiction. Her YA novels include Control, Catalyst, and the upcoming The November Girl. Her adult fiction debut is entitled A Beautiful Poison. Her nonfiction has been published in JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, and the Journal of General Internal Medicine. She has gained a reputation as a medical consultant for fiction authors and teaches writers how to accurately maim their literary victims on her blog series, Medical Mondays. She has been an invited speaker at the University of Nebraska's Women in Medicine series, as well as Union Pacific's Asian American Organization. She's also been a panelist and guest lecturer at ALA, Comic Con, C2E2, and numerous book festivals, schools, and libraries throughout the country.
ABOUT CRISTIN O'KEEFE APTOWICZ
CRISTIN O'KEEFE APTOWICZ is the author of two books of nonfiction, most recently Dr Mutter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine (Avery Book / Penguin), which spent three months of the New York Times best seller list. Her seventh collation of poetry, How to Love the Empty Air (Write Bloody Publishing) will be released next spring.
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