Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything
by Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen
I’ve always been interested in mysteries, medical investigations, and even murders cases. If they come with a strange, weird twist, even better. While I was searching for my next interesting reading, I saw Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen. What a good choice of mine in picking it.
The title could not be clearer or more obvious, a simple yet perfect option for such a publication. The authors explore the worst remedies ever for hundreds of diseases and health problems, without omitting any detail and while providing curious facts on each subject they are exploring. They do so with a dose of black humor so powerful that it becomes very light and enjoyable reading.
Perfectly divided for more comfortable reading, each of the methods, the oh-so-called “cures” of their time, and some even from ours, are presented to the horror of the reader. I must admit that I shivered more than once at the thought of living in those eras, and you can correctly assume I feel blessed to be in this time, at least when I think about medicine.
What makes this an even more interesting read is that each of the chapters listed in Quackery are linked to another one, giving a cyclical narrative of the facts, part of a symbiotic process where all of them are self-complementary. Kang and Pedersen did a good job of keeping track of each of the techniques they listed.
However, there were times when personal interests and the topics you prefer to read come in between you and enjoying the book. This creates many ups and downs in some chapters, along with making it hard to pay attention. It becomes frustrating to read twice or three times the same paragraph in order to fully understand what is being explained, but it happens just a few times, mostly while reading subjects you may not care too much about, so overall not ruining the book.
Despite the fact that it is a book about medical matters, Quackery doesn’t use a complicated language or complex terms. All the descriptions are crystal clear. It’s easy to read the medical recipes can even memorize those parts that impress them the most; I certainly did and will be waiting for the best time to traumatize some of my friends.
I’m not an avid reader of non-fiction, but I’m glad I could discover Kang and Pedersen’s work. It’s sweet to see juicy books like this still in the market.