MAGIC, MYTH AND MEDICINE by John Camp

MAGIC, MYTH AND MEDICINE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Superstition will always be with us Camp seems to be saying, and despite the advances of science the credulity of the masses hasn't declined one whit. In this pleasant and readable book of medicinal folklore through the ages Camp ranges from the purification rituals of the Australian aborigines to the Victorians' insatiable appetite for patent medicines and other nostrums guaranteed to cure everything from sexual disorders to tuberculosis, gout and brain fever. Some of the gimmicks perpetrated by the medical quacks are truly astounding like the Celestial or Magnetico-Electrico bed invented by one ""Dr."" James Graham who charged 50 pounds a night for this sure cure for marital infertility, or those Eno salts which promised ""Riches, Titles, Honour, Power and Worldly Prospects"" as the rewards of a regular bowel movement. Not all the fake remedies however were in fact fakes and Camp devotes a chapter to the ever popular herbal cures which often turn out to have a basis in science and indeed constitute the basis of modern pharmacology. Unlike many who write about this nether world of medicine, Camp has no special ax to grind, only an abiding curiosity and interest in the origin and tenacity of the fads, hoaxes, and half truths which have dominated the popular mind. Eclectic and entertaining social history.

Pub Date: June 28th, 1974
Publisher: Taplinger