Dawn Raffel - The Strange Case of Dr. Couney (San Francisco Store)

Thursday, August 23, 2018 - 6:00pm

In Conversation with Adair Lara

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Drawing on historical documents, original reportage, and interviews with surviving patients, The Strange Case of Dr. Couney 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.

Dawn Raffel is a journalist, memoirist, and short story writer whose work has been widely anthologized. A longtime magazine editor, she helped launch O, The Oprah Magazine. She has also taught creative writing in the MFA program at Columbia University; at Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia; Montreal; and Vilnius, Lithuania; and at the Center for Fiction in New York. She now works as an independent editor and book reviewer.

 

Location: 
1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111
The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: How a Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780399175749
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Blue Rider Press - July 31st, 2018

 “A mosaic mystery told in vignettes, cliffhangers, curious asides, and some surreal plot twists as Raffel investigates the secrets of the man who changed infant care in America.” —NPR, 2018's Great Reads

What kind of doctor puts his patients on display?