Quackery - book cover

Discover 67 shocking-but-true medical misfires that run the gamut from bizarre to deadly. Like when doctors prescribed morphine for crying infants. When snorting skull moss was a cure for a bloody nose. When consuming mail-order tapeworms was a latter-day fad diet. Or when snake oil salesmen peddled strychnine (used in rat poison) as an aphrodisiac in the '60s. Seamlessly combining macabre humor with hard science and compelling storytelling, Quackery is a visually rich and information-packed exploration of history's most outlandish cures, experiments, and scams.

A humorous book that delves into some of the wacky but true ways that humans have looked to cure their ills. Leeches, mercury, strychnine, and lobotomies are a few of the topics that explore the lengths society has gone in the search for health.


About this event

Join author Lydia Kang and an expert panel to discuss the key themes and ideas explored in her book, Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything. This book club will take place during National Pathology Week (NPW) via Zoom webinar and will be recorded. A video will be available on our YouTube channel and on the RCPath Book Club webpage after the event. 

National Pathology Week runs from 19-25 June 2023. This year's theme is 'Pathologists and Patients'. Find out how you can get involved with our annual celebration of pathology at

How to get involved 

About the author

Lydia Kang

Lydia Kang is an author of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. She graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine, and is an Associate Professor of general internal medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Her poetry and non-fiction have been published in JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, and Great Weather for Media. She is the co-author of Patient Zero: A Curious History of the World’s Worst Diseases as well as Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything, an NPR Science Friday Best Science Book of 2017. Her adult historical fiction includes the bestselling novels A Beautiful Poison, The Impossible Girl, Opium and Absinthe, and The Half-Life of Ruby Fielding. Her young adult novels include Control, Catalyst, Toxic, and The November Girl, a 2018 Nebraska Book Award winner. 

  • 18:00 - 19/06/2023 to 19:00 - 19/06/2023