Subgenre: history, medical, health, humor
Source: Berea branch of the Madison County (KY) Public Library
The book is organized into five major sections:
- Elements. Using things like mercury and arsenic for cures.
- Plants and soil. This includes opiates (which to an extent are still used today), tobacco, and even eating dirt.
- Tools. Procedures like bloodletting, lobotomies, and cold water cures.
- Animals. Using leeches, fasting, and cannibalism among other things.
- Mysterious powers. Using things like electricity, magnetism, and radionics.
The book is very accessible and easy to read. The authors describe the cures and procedures in detail, and they balance the narrative with a good dose of humor. The light jokes throughout the book make the subject interesting and amusing. Additionally, the book features a variety of illustrations, diagrams, and photos that enhance the book. The stories range from disturbing to ridiculous; it just draws you in and makes you want to read more.
As the authors states, the book is not comprehensive. It focuses mainly on past treatments, and the authors add that some topics not covered deserve books of their own. Overall, what this book does cover it covers very well in an amusing and informative way. Readers who enjoy history, medical trivia, and a bit of humor will enjoy this book.
The book is definitely a great choice for libraries. Overall, I really liked this one and recommend it.
4 out of 5 stars.