Review - Quackery: A Brief History Of The Worst Ways To Cure Everything

No one is safe from the clutches of experts. From financial matters to medical concerns, we must listen to people with high-sounding degrees who know more than we do. Even modern rulers with huge political power have to sometimes put their lives and careers in the hands of people who profess to have specialised knowledge in a particular area of life. Yet we sometimes forget that experts are people trying to figure out life as well as complicated details of their craft. No one knows all they need to know about their area of specialism. This includes the so-called experts.

Quackery is a record of dangerous medical concoctions that were once proclaimed and, in some cases, certified as medicine that would cure common ailments.
For example, the authors state that arsenic compounds were once used as legitimate medicine for syphilis. It was also used extensively in beauty products. Though arsenic did its job (when used in small doses), it was dropped in the 1990s when it was discovered that its toxicity helps cancer thrive within the body.

Also, did you know that surgical removal of ovaries was used to treat hysteria in the nineteenth century? Apparently, a "prominent gynaecologist, Isaac Baker Brown decided that anything that nourishes or gratified a woman's sexual appetite was bad, bad, bad. He recommended and perform clitoris removals and even chopped out his sister's ovaries."

Quackery is a book for medical history lovers as well as for those with a liking for learning odd facts.
The authors did a good job and put in lots of effort to make it funny. The book also contains historical images and is definitely not for the squeamish.

Many thanks to Workman Publishing Company for review copy.

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