Quackery by Lydia Kang


Discover 67 shocking-but-true medical misfires that run the gamut from bizarre to deadly. Like when doctors prescribed morphine for crying infants. When snorting skull moss was a cure for a bloody nose. When consuming mail-order tapeworms was a latter-day fad diet. Or when snake oil salesmen peddled strychnine (used in rat poison) as an aphrodisiac in the '60s. Seamlessly combining macabre humor with hard science and compelling storytelling, Quac...

Details Quackery

Release DateOct 17th, 2017
PublisherWorkman Publishing Company
GenreNonfiction, History, Science, Medical

Reviews Quackery

  • Diane S ☔
    3.5 Regardless of the less than ideal state of the world today, this is one of those books that at least medically, make one grateful that we were born in today's medical world. This book is incredibly comprehensive and we'll researched. I know most of us have heard of the use of leeches, cold water cures, opium, electro shock therapy and the use of these have made us shudder with the knowledge we have now.Some of the things in this book I had ne...
  • Jeanette
    Lots of information and its graphics and hardcover book form are marvelous. This holds so much criteria and minutia of centuries of treatments and all kinds of paths to attempt cures or remedies. Not all were conducted in a malevolent or tricking to profit mode. Most were serious attempts to improve a dire health problem, disease, or some living condition that handicapped to strong degrees. Because so many of the original patient conditions are s...
  • Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
    Most of us dread a trip to the doctor's office. I know I do! But have you ever thought how nice it actually is to go to one and, well, not have to fear heavy metal poisoning? Or... not have to lose a pint of blood to purge you?Yeah, when I think about it, it's definitely good that the 21st century is the way it is, even if our medical systems are not perfect (I hear you.) But medicine hasn't always been like it is today. And this book will tell ...
  • Oreoandlucy
    A more complete review is available on my blog:https://reviewsofbooksonmynightstand....Not all quacks are snake oil salesmen. Of course, some of them are and in Quackery you will learn about them. Some quacks are not out to make a quick buck but legitimately believe in their own ineffective or harmful treatments. Lydia Kang, a physician, and Nate Pedersen, a journalist, will fascinate you with stories of how doctors used to use substances like co...
  • OutlawPoet
    Cocaine, Beaver Testicles, and the Healing Power of Man GreaseQuackery, by Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen, is a delightfully gruesome compendium of some of the worst medical techniques and beliefs in human history. Whether it’s the horrors of old surgical techniques or the best ways to eat a Ginger (not eat ginger… I mean eat ‘a Ginger’) for your optimum health, you’ll find it in this book.The book is funny, informative, and fascinatingly...
  • Barb
    While reading this book, I had to keep reminding myself that the practices and methods discussed weren't just a product of the authors' imaginations but were actual "treatments" once thought to cure problems ranging from babies who wouldn't stop crying to parasitic infections. Opium to treat vision problems? Strychnine as an aphrodisiac? Mercury to soothe babies' teething pain? "Man grease" to cure gout? They're all here … and a lot more that w...
  • Bernard O'Leary
    Quackery keeps trying to hold the reader's attention by making lame dad jokes about the subject matter. I'm not sure if the chapter on enemas includes a line like "talk about a pain in the butt!" but that's basically the level of joke we're talking about here. It doesn't actually need to do this, because it's a fascinating and well-researched journey through the batshit history of medicine. In fact, there's an argument to be made that the medicin...
  • Alice, as in Wonderland
    I feel like I gotta give this 5 stars on account of it being 100% what I expected, which is essentially a book length Cracked article in the shape of a book.It's gross, horrifying, and great.
  • Ceillie
    Read my full review here!
  • Jennifer
    Before the review, an important note on my rating system. Two stars from me does not mean that the book was bad. It means, that the book is actually good, it's just something that I can't see myself reading again just because of my personal preferences.This book was highly entertaining and gory at the same time. As I was reading it, I kept thinking how glad I was to be alive during a time when we know procedures used in the past are actually harm...
  • Jamie
    Fascinating read and I highlighted quite a bit in the ebook; however, the constant joking really put me off. There was some extraordinary information about medical practices and the overall wacky treatments that have been done throughout history-and then there would be a lame "dad joke". I just felt none of that was needed as it was such an awesome read and the information and pictures were enough to hold my intrigue. Learned quite a bit from thi...
  • Marjolein
    Full review to come!
  • Jess
    **I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**With Quackery, Kang and Pedersen have created an entertaining and engaging tour of medical treatment mishaps and broken promises, mostly produced by pseudo doctors/medical professionals. While not an exhaustive look at every type of treatment available to consumers, the authors present some of the more astonishing and readily available ...
  • Cassandra
    This book is divided into five sections. Elements, Plants & Soil, Tools, Animals, and Mysterious Powers. Each section gives the reader information on a subtopic and shares detailed information on that topic and how it was used. in days gone by. Did you know, in ancient Rome, your barber was also your dentist and bloodletter? My favorite chapter is "The Weight Loss Hall of Shame." Tapeworms for dieting? I think not! Reading about these previously ...
  • Storyheart
    3.5 stars. Amusing and informative read. Thank you to Goodreads and the publisher for the ARC.
  • Aishuu
    Amusing, but trods on the well-forged path of medical history. There was very little new to me. Might be a good book for people who don't read much medical history, although I think the pop culture references will make this dated very quickly.
  • Jennie
    An amusing collection of - just what the title says - Worst Ways to Cure. This book was a very humorous look at some of the extreme measures that people have put themselves through all in the name of being healthy. It reminded me that medicine is a practice - and I really hope someday practice makes perfect. In the meantime I am grateful for how far we have come. The author sprinkles in some interesting side facts that add to the readability of t...
  • Jo
    This is absolutely one of the most interesting nonfictional books I’ve ever read. 5/5 –Wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone and everyone with a remote interest in medicine and drugs. I loved how easy it was to read. I’ve taken plenty of science classes, especially dealing with medicine and healthcare, but this book is truly easy to follow for anyone regardless science background. There are interesting pictures, clever puns, and gruesome ...
  • Victoria Peipert
    While this is a fun read and definitely contains a lot of information about different medical beliefs and practices in history, it has a very amateur feel. There are times where the tone of the authors has a very strong informal colloquial style. They use cliches and conversational terms and I think that it de-emphasizes the importance of this information being framed in a more formal tone so that it feels more legitimate and factual.
  • Ellen Klock
    The human body has been an enigma since time began when Adam and Eve discovered the meaning of nakedness. Mankind has been obsessed with maintaining a sort of harmony of body and soul which has led to some interesting "techniques" flavored by both our passions and our ignorance of scientific facts. Even if a procedure had some foothold in curing our ailments, there were those who deigned to use their talents to take a popular idea, twist it up, p...
  • Dawn
    I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley.Some interesting tidbits about the history of questionable medical treatments. The content of this book is likely to appeal to fans of Mary Roach. The biggest drawback is the exceedingly jokey tone of the author. While there are some truly funny comments, it gets to be way to much with every other comment apparently being intended as a zinger. Also, if you have virgin ears beware that this book i...
  • Celia
    The problem I had with this book is that it deals with both health scams and the errors of the legitimate medical establishment and treats them same way. This was a major problem in the first two sections of the book. The later sections of the book improve. The later parts of the book describes the history of certain treatments(i.e. hypnosis, anesthesia). The book becomes kinder towards the incomplete knowledge of medicine at the time(i.e. the go...
  • Jill
    Written by a medical doctor (Kang) and a freelance journalist (Pedersen), this book is part medical history, part cautionary tale, and part stand up comic’s routine. As the title suggests, the main focus is on the various nostrums, panaceas, and procedures that certain unscrupulous individuals have foisted on a credulous public over the centuries. These charlatans, also known as quacksalvers, or simply “quacks,” at best sold worthless remed...
  • Tonstant Weader
    Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything is a historical overview of the many wrongheaded ways humans have sought to cure themselves of what ails them. We’re all familiar with the more commonly known quackery, the bloodletting, the leeches, and the laudanum. This book goes far deeper than that into some truly esoteric treatments.Full of factoids and historical details and overflowing with full-color photos that depict the ...
  • Merry
    Fun but more lightweight than I really cared for. I can't believe we, as a species, have survived and thrived, considering the really stupid ideas we've had about health. This was an enjoyable read, good for picking it up and putting it down, and entertaining people with various passages. However, the tendency on part of the author to joke... on almost every sentence... got a little tedious, and sort of undermined the history and the horror. I me...
  • Jan
    I got this book from the publisher via Netgalley shortly after reading another horrific nonfiction book on radium poisoning, so reading this one took longer than it should have. Especially as this one is designed to be a reality check, not inflame the reader to anger. In this very well researched compendium of the idiocy of mankind through the ages, the varied negative results of attempts to cure man's ills is balanced with bad puns and snarky as...
  • Lynndell
    Thanks to NetGalley and Workman Publishing Company for the opportunity to read and review Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang. The book has sections for elements, plants and soil, tools, animals and mysterious powers. The first section begins with the medicinal use of mercury. Interesting and intriguing in its awfulness, especially the part about using it for babies who are teething; whoa! Then I learned a...
  • Ionia
    I think this book works well to remind us what not to do, for example, almost anything that our ancestors did when it came to medicine and healing. While there are plenty of gross out moments in this book, it also provides a solid history on different techniques used in bygone ages for healing of various illnesses and ailments, and the resulting issues that were born from those treatments. It is frightening to see what we thought was a good idea ...