JFK, his rogue doctor and the conspiracy to kill a meth-addicted president.
Lertzman and Birnes (The Everything UFO Book, 2012, etc.) attempt an exposé about Dr. Max Jacobson, aka Dr. Feelgood, who treated a host of famous patients from JFK to Truman Capote. His treatments, or “vitamin shots,” were primarily made up of amphetamines with the addition of often-experimental ingredients like animal hormones. The authors focus on the relationship between JFK and Jacobson, claiming that Jacobson traveled regularly with the president, was often summoned to the White House and was even asked by Kennedy to move in. Using personal interviews with several people once close to the doctor and his patients, as well as quoting from previous books on the subject, the authors spin a tale of widespread drug addiction at the hands of Jacobson. They describe some notable incidents that occurred while Kennedy was in a meth-induced state, including his debate with Nixon, his meeting Khrushchev at the Vienna Summit in 1961 and, eventually, an overdose at the Carlyle Hotel during which the president had to be subdued. The book strays at times from the Kennedy story to describe Jacobson’s treatment of patients like Marilyn Monroe, actor Robert Cummings and Cecil B. DeMille, with whom Jacobson traveled extensively. As the authors admit, there have been many books written about Jacobson and his connection to the rich and famous. It’s hard to tell what sets this one apart, although Lertzman and Birnes do offer a lengthy aside detailing the doctor’s upbringing, medical training and emigration to the United States after the Holocaust. Perhaps most interesting is the ending, where the authors assert that Jacobson was indirectly responsible for JFK’s death. The president’s growing amphetamine addiction, they claim, was seen by the CIA as a serious threat to national security. The book concludes with a rehashing of familiar conspiracy theories regarding the Warren Commission.
A thin, mostly secondhand portrait of a misguided doctor and the harm he caused his famous clientele.