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Marketplace of the Marvelous by Erika Janik
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Marketplace of the Marvelous

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Marketplace of the Marvelous by Erika Janik
Paperback $20.00
Mar 10, 2015 | ISBN 9780807061114

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  • Mar 10, 2015 | ISBN 9780807061114

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  • Jan 07, 2014 | ISBN 9780807022092

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“A must-read for medical history buffs, whether mainstream or maverick.”
Publishers Weekly

“A thorough, informative history of the many eccentric narratives that make these quack sciences so interesting and important to modern medicine.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Historian Janik chronicles the rise and fall and renewed popularity of alternative medicine.”

“Erika Janik’s survey of alternative therapies hums with strange ideas and even odder characters.”
Boston Globe

“[Janik] offers full and fair accounts of the origins, rationales and fortunes of [these] alternative practices.”
Wall Street Journal

“[Janik] is especially good at delineating the history of women.”
CHOICE, recommended review

“A must read for those in the natural and alternative health industry.”
The Herbal Collective

“Marketplace of the Marvelous
 is well served by Janik’s training as a historian. The observations of the misfit margins that she explores are both keen and cutting—she is as evenhanded as she is graceful when describing the turbulent first half of the nineteenth century, and draws clear connections between modern medical theory and its early influences.”
The Source Weekly

“Erika Janik’s Marketplace of the Marvelous is a rare achievement: both entertaining narrative for the curious reader and valuable resource for the serious scholar. I wish I’d had it when writing my biographies of prominent nineteenth-century women, as easily seduced by the promised cures of pseudoscience as so many others in the era of brutally “heroic” medicine, with its tortuous treatments of bloodletting, blistering, and mega-doses of mercury. Janik rightly traces many of our contemporary notions of healthy living to early crackpot remedies—drinking plenty of water, regular exercise, massage, herbal medicines. In this remarkable volume Janik summons up a vanished world of visionaries and cranks who were indeed both marvelous and modern.”
—Megan Marshall, author of The Peabody Sisters and Margaret Fuller: A New American Life

“Astronomy was preceded by Astrology. Modern medical science was preceded by snake oil and homeopathy. Janik tells a compelling story, in graceful prose, of what happens when error, greed and fashion  rule the marketplace of medical ideas. What Lewis Thomas called ‘The Youngest Science’—medicine based on cell and molecular biology—is young, indeed; and this fine book reminds us of how far we have come.”
Gerald Weissmann, MD, author of Epigenetics in the Age of Twitter 

“An engaging romp through more than a century of irregular medicine, from the kookiness of phrenologists and mesmerists to the excessive claims of snake-oil salesmen and Thomsonian botanical practitioners. Erika Janik explores these medical byways with both skepticism and respect, showing how their often-derided practitioners were pioneers (at times unwittingly) in the exploration of placebo effects, psychotherapy, the importance of exercise, disease prevention, and patient engagement in their own care—elements that have been gradually absorbed into mainstream medical practice. It’s a fun read and eye-opening from start to finish.”
—David Hellerstein, MD, professor of psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, and author of Heal Your Brain

Table Of Contents

Medicine at the Crossroads

Every Man His Own Physician: Thomson’s Botanic Medicine

The Only True Science of the Mind: Phrenology

Quenching Thirst, Healing Pain: Hydropathy

Dilutions of Health: Homeopathy

Hypnotized: Mesmer and His Mental Magic

Selling Snake Oil: Patent Medicine

Manual Medicine: Osteopathy and Chiropractic

The Fall and Rise of Alternative Medicine





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