A survey of quacks, charlatans, faith healers, and flimflammers through the ages. By no means scholarly--psychological interpretations are only touched upon, The Exorcist is a suggested reading--the book provides common-sense explanations for such effective but non-medical cures as a mixture of horse dung and wine, and the touch of a king. The power of suggestion, the desire to be healthy, the distraction of mumbo jumbo, and inherent recuperative powers all account for apparent miracle cures. Though current, accepted practices like acupuncture and biofeedback are set forth, and reputable figures--Freud, Mary Baker Eddy--make occasional appearances, for the most part this is just an array of eccentrics. They're a lively bunch--Valentine Greatrakes, a 17th-century healer, was affectionately known as The Stroker--and the colorful, you-are-there style makes the most of their antics while neglecting their significance.