Author: Nathan Belofsky

Publisher: Perigee Book   

ISBN: 978-0-399-15995-4

It is a good thing that author Nathan Belofsky writes with such a sense of humor else the subject matter of Strange Medicine would be too terrible to bear at times.  Not only does Belofsky write humorously, but he gives the information in the book to the reader in small bits and pieces, readable bites that allow you to swallow a piece of horrific information and set the book aside if you need to (which I did).  

Belofsky’s work is full of medical practices that really can’t possibly have happened...but they did.  These medical practices go from the shocking to the terrible, with death and maiming seemingly at every turn in his well spun narrative.  The information has been culled from numerous sources -- all of which are arranged in an excellent bibliography should you wish to give yourself further medical based nightmares -- and makes you wonder how the human race could have possibly survived into the twentieth century with the assistance of doctors.

Doctors are, without a doubt, the villains of this story, though only a few of them actually seem to be natural sadists.  The nature of Western medicine, as displayed by Belofsky, simply seems to lean towards the sadistic, as seen in the simple fact that anesthesia was frowned upon since it was obviously God’s will that patients suffer, and who were the doctor’s to go against God’s will.  You could, in fact, even be put to death for asking for pain relief during a medical procedure, so you were better off just accepting the pain and dealing with it.

As horrible as the vignettes are that Belofsky shares with the reader, they are still fascinating to read.  Some of the procedures that early doctors came up with are astounding, just as some of the ‘cures’ are revolting.  To describe any of the incidents in the book would truly spoil the fun, and possibly your appetite.

Through all of the horror of medical history, however, Nathan Belofsky keeps a sense of humor, and even in the grimmest of circumstances he can bring a smile to the reader’s face.  The book is thoroughly enjoyable and can be read either a bit at a time, or in one sitting.  And, should you find a particular ‘cure’ fascinating, there’s even an index at the end of the work so you can easily find it should you like to entertain some dinner guests...or chase them out early.

Follow Here To Purchase Strange Medicine: A Shocking History of Real Medical Practices Through the Ages

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