Charlatan A Book Review

Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock is an account of medical practices before the FDA.

Doctor John A. Brinkley attended some medical school, ran out of money and traveled selling miracle cures. In 1917 he set up a clinic in Kansas. During a patient examination, he had an idea. The patient was tired, and said he wished he had some goat’s nuts. That would perk him up. Brinkley was on his way.


Brinkley developed a practice to surgically insert goat testicles into humans. His clients included movie stars, national politicians and the common man. He made millions during the depression. His sales for tonics alone were over a million dollars in the 1930s. Unfortunately, he sometimes operated after “happy hour.” Dr. had a high rate of infection from the operation, and this was before penicillin.

The AMA was new and Dr. Morris Fishbein, editor of the “Journal of the American Medical Association, wanted to shut him down. The story includes Dr. Fishbein’s pursuit of Brinkley.

Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock is a fascinating book. It includes medicine, Brinkleys two time run for governor and his radio stations.

My only complaint is that the book wanders some, but even the wanderings are interesting. I recommend this book.

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Comments 2 comments

kookoo88 profile image

kookoo88 5 years ago from Cripple Creek

It sounds interesting, and umm, I don't want goat's nuts . . . just sayin.


heanders profile image

heanders 5 years ago from USA Author

I'd agree with you. Apparently we'd recognize a lot of the names that had the surgery. Interesting book.

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