There are some wonderful characters in these pages. . . . Menger-Anderson’s characters are well developed, and her attention to detail—down to the tools used by the generations of doctors—is thorough. She incorporates historical events into the story, everything from the Conspiracy of 1741 to the Attica Prison riots. These events, like the descriptions of a tavern in 1700, create a connection between the reader and New York City itself. The events may be dark spots in the city’s history—just as the quackery practiced by the doctors doesn’t represent science’s brightest moments—yet Metzger-Anderson presents each of them, as well as the parade of New Yorkers through time, in all of their ambition and pain.
To read the entire review: BRAIN READING: We diagnose a century-spanning medical manuscript