Book Launch! Erika Janik: Author of Marketplace of the Marvelous

Event date: 
Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 6:30pm

A Room of One's Own is proud to welcome Erika Janik for the launch of her new book, Marketplace of the Marvelous!

An entertaining introduction to the quacks, snake-oil salesmen, and charlatans, who often had a point.

Despite rampant scientific innovation in nineteenth-century America,
traditional medicine still adhered to ancient healing methods such as
induced vomiting and bleeding, blistering, and sweating patients. Facing
such horrors, many patients ran with open arms to burgeoning practices
promising new ways to cure their ills: Hydropaths promised cures using
"healing tubs." Franz Anton Mesmer applied magnets to a patient's body,
while Daniel David Palmer restored a man's hearing by knocking on his
vertebrae. Phrenologists emerged, claiming the topography of one's skull
could reveal the intricacies of one's character. Bizarre as these
methods may seem, many are the predecessors of today's notions of
health. We have the nineteenth-century practice of "medical gymnastics"
to thank for today's emphasis on daily exercise, and hydropathy's
various water cures gave us the notion of showers and the mantra of
"eight glasses of water a day." These early medical "deviants,"
including women who had been barred from the patriarchy of "legitimate
doctoring," raised questions and posed challenges to established ideas,
and though the fads faded and many were discredited by the scientific
revolution, some ideas behind the quackery are staples in today's health
industry. Janik tells the colorful stories of these "quacks," whose
shams, foils, or genuine wish to heal helped shape and influence modern


Erika Janik is the award-winning author of Odd Wisconsin, A Short
History of Wisconsin, Madison: A History of a Model City, Apple: A
Global History, and Marketplace of the Marvelous: The Strange Origins of
Modern Medicine (Beacon Press, Jan. 2014). She is the recipient of a
2011 Wisconsin Historical Society Award of Merit for History Writing,
2009 North American Travel Journalists Association award for historical
travel writing as well as the 2007 William B. Hesseltine Award. Her work
has appeared in many publications, including, Mental
Floss, The Onion, MyMidwest, Wisconsin Trails magazine, On Wisconsin,
and the Wisconsin Magazine of History, as well as on Wisconsin Public
Radio. Originally from Redmond, Washington, she now knows more about
Wisconsin than she ever thought possible. In her spare time, she's the
producer and editor of "Wisconsin Life" at Wisconsin Public Radio.

Event address: 
315 W. Gorham St.
53703-2218 Madison
Marketplace of the Marvelous: The Strange Origins of Modern Medicine Cover Image
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9780807022085
Availability: Special Order
Published: Beacon Press (MA) - January 7th, 2014