Stephen Coss – The Fever of 1721

March 7, 2016 – Today, we’re climbing into the Wayback Machine and setting the dial for the early 1700’s, when temperatures ran high in politics, the press, and from a smallpox epidemic burning through Boston. Leading us on this journey is Stephen Coss: author, ad guy, and “close personal friend of Ben Franklin.” Everything, Stephen says, that Franklin really needed to know, he learned in 1721 (and he’s only half joking). Stephen’s debut book is The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic that Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics. In it, we meet historical figures including the young Franklin laboring at his brother’s newspaper, and the Reverend Cotton Mather, seeking redemption from the debacle Salem Witch Trials by pioneering the technique of inoculation against the dreaded pox. An unlikely advocate for something as revolutionary as vaccination, Mather convinces only a single doctor — Zabdiel Boylston — to try what we’d call a clinical trial on the controversial technique, one frowned upon in part because it had been practiced in Africa. You can follow Stephen @Coss1Coss on Twitter, or visit him at StephenCoss.com. In this episode, we also mentioned David Pietrusza’s new book, 1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR – Two Tales of…

Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz – Dr. Mütter’s Marvels

October 29, 2015 – In this special, Halloween episode, we’re traveling back to the days before the American Civil War, when doctors would take their scalpels to fully awake patients — the pre-microbial era when the causes of common diseases remained a mystery, and when oil lamps and flammable clothing combined to engulf a staggering number of people in flames. This, was the age of monsters. Yes, monsters. Not costumed Groovie Goolies, but human beings so scarred and broken, that they often longed for death. And so they were called… monsters. Enter the brilliant surgeon who gave these monsters hope, and made it his life’s work to piece their lives back together. His name, was Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter. Poet and author Cristin O’Keefe Aptowitcz tells the story of his amazing medical breakthroughs in Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine. Cristin is an award-winning writer and the author of seven books. You can visit her website, Aptowicz.com and follow her on Twitter @COAptowicz. We’re also giving away two tickets to the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia on our Facebook page, courtesy of the author. To enter, just listen to the show, visit…