Saturday, July 21, 2018

"The Strange Case of Dr. Couney"

New from Blue Rider Press: The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: How a Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies by Dawn Raffel.

About the book, from the publisher:

The extraordinary tale of how a mysterious immigrant “doctor” became the revolutionary innovator of saving premature babies–by placing them in incubators in World’s Fair side shows and on Coney Island and Atlantic City.

What kind of doctor puts his patients on display?

As Dawn Raffel artfully recounts, Dr. Couney figured out he could use incubators and careful nursing to keep previously doomed infants alive, and at the same time make good money displaying these babies alongside sword swallowers, bearded ladies, and burlesque shows. How this turn-of-the-twentieth-century √©migr√© became the savior to families with premature infants, known then as “weaklings”–while ignoring the scorn of the medical establishment and fighting the climate of eugenics–is one of the most astounding stories of modern medicine. And as readers will find, Dr. Couney, for all his opportunistic entrepreneurial gusto, is a surprisingly appealing character, someone who genuinely cared for the well-being of his tiny patients. But he had something to hide.

Drawing on historical documents, original reportage, and interviews with surviving patients, acclaimed journalist and magazine editor Dawn Raffel tells the marvelously eccentric story of Couney’s mysterious carnival career, his larger-than-life personality, and his unprecedented success as the savior of tiny babies.
Visit Dawn Raffel's website.

--Marshal Zeringue