Tune in to WBCM Radio Bristol as our Book Club explores Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock.
Date: Thursday, July 23, 2020
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. EST
Location: Tune in to WBCM Radio Bristol
Hosted by Bristol Public Library Executive Director Tonia Kestner and Birthplace of Country Music Museum Head Curator Dr. René Rodgers, the Radio Bristol Book Club airs weekly every 4th Thursday.
Book discussions will dig deep into the feelings and questions raised by each selection, learn more about the authors, and celebrate the joys of being a bookworm!
About Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam
In 1917, after years of selling worthless patent remedies throughout the Southeast, John R. Brinkley–America’s most brazen young con man–arrived in the tiny town of Milford, Kansas. He set up a medical practice and introduced an outlandish surgical method using goat glands to restore the fading virility of local farmers.
It was all nonsense, of course, but thousands of paying customers quickly turned “Dr.” Brinkley into America’s richest and most famous surgeon. His notoriety captured the attention of the great quackbuster Morris Fishbein, who vowed to put the country’s “most daring and dangerous” charlatan out of business.
Their cat-and-mouse game lasted throughout the 1920s and ’30s, but despite Fishbein’s efforts Brinkley prospered wildly. When he ran for governor of Kansas, he invented campaigning techniques still used in modern politics. Thumbing his nose at American regulators, he built the world’s most powerful radio transmitter just across the Rio Grande to offer sundry cures, and killed or maimed patients by the score, yet his warped genius produced innovations in broadcasting that endure to this day. By introducing country music and blues to the nation, Brinkley also became a seminal force in rock ’n’ roll. In short, he is the most creative criminal this country has ever produced.
Culminating in a decisive courtroom confrontation that pit Brinkley against his nemesis Fishbein, Charlatan is a marvelous portrait of a boundlessly audacious rogue on the loose in an America that was ripe for the bamboozling.
About Pope Brock
Pope Brock is the author of the critically acclaimed Indiana Gothic: A Story of Adultery and Murder in an American Family, the story of his great-grandfather’s murder in 1908, and Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam.
Brock has written for numerous publications, including Rolling Stone, Esquire, GQ, and the London Sunday Times Magazine.
He lives in upstate New York with his twin daughters, Molly and Hannah.