Sunday, March 5, 2017

Medical Meddlers, Mediums, and Magicians: The Victorian Age of Credulity

Sometimes I can lose myself completely in my book while commuting, but with a relatively short train ride and frequent interruptions (even in the quiet car),  it's best to keep my reading on the light side.  Medical Meddlers, Mediums, and Magicians is an ideal commute book - entertaining enough to hold my attention but not deep enough to require deep thought, and arranged in sections ranging from less than one to about three pages.   I found "Medical Meddlers" the most interesting (among them was James IV of Scotland who practiced dentistry along with ruling his country), particularly how the author (a physician) delineated between outright quacks and those who were doing their best with the limited knowledge of the day.  I've never been particularly interested in the supernatural, so "Mediums" didn't hold my attention quite as well.  "Magicians" was disappointing, partially because so few were covered and partially because there wasn't enough attention given to those who debunked the mediums and meddlers.  Light and entertaining, but ultimately disposable, it's enjoyable without being particularly memorable.

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