100 books like Quackery

By Lydia Kang, Nate Pedersen,

Here are 100 books that Quackery fans have personally recommended if you like Quackery. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Perfect Gentleman

Alina Rubin Author Of A Girl with a Knife

From my list on making you glad for modern medicine.

Why am I passionate about this?

Stuck at home during the pandemic, I started watching historical fiction and fell in love with the British miniseries, Hornblower. Suddenly I found myself writing my own stories about an imprisoned midshipman and Ella Parker, a surgeon that saves him. But there was a plot hole. Women could not be doctors in 19th-century England, leave alone ship surgeons. Thus, I sent Ella into medical school disguised as a man, and Hearts and Sails series was born. Looking for interesting cases for Ella to observe and treat, I became obsessed with the history of modern medicine. I also wanted my character to overcome great obstacles and eventually prove to others what a woman can do.

Alina's book list on making you glad for modern medicine

Alina Rubin Why did Alina love this book?

I’m often asked if Ella Parker is based on Dr. James Barry. She’s not. But I was glad to confirm that history recorded at least one woman was able to disguise herself as a man and become a distinguished doctor. The biography of Dr. Barry is intriguing, well-written, and shows how brilliant and mysterious an individual he was. The best find for me was the list of classes Barry attended at the University of Edinburgh. I sent my main character into the same classes, including the optional midwifery, and the private class with a prestigious teacher. This biography gave me many answers about this remarkable doctor, but also left me with questions. 

By June Rose,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Perfect Gentleman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

James Barry was one of the most outstanding doctors of the nineteenth century – a brilliant surgeon, a tireless campaigner for medical reform, and a compassionate Inspector-General of the Army.

But throughout a long and distinguished career an air of secrecy, even of scandal, always clung to Barry. The shrill voice, the diminutive build, the almost ostentatious humanity – all struck a discordant note in the stiff, conventional world of the officers’ mess. Only after the doctor’s death in 1865 did the incredible truth come to light:

Dr. James Barry was a woman.

What was her real identity? How did…


Book cover of The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine

Brian Elliott Author Of White Coat Ways: A History of Medical Traditions and Their Battle with Progress

From my list on medical history that changes medical perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a physician, medicine is my job. But along the way, I wondered how medicine got to where it is now–like really wondered. I wondered to the point that I was reading the original treatises written by 18th-century physicians. I started publishing research on medical history and giving presentations at medical conferences. I’d like to think this helps me be a better doctor by broadening my perspective on the healthcare industry. But at the very least, I’ve found these books enjoyable and compelling. I hope you enjoy them, too!

Brian's book list on medical history that changes medical perspective

Brian Elliott Why did Brian love this book?

I re-read this book anytime I want a greater appreciation for living in the 21st century because it is teeming with downright disgusting medical stories from the 1800s–and it’s fantastic.

Our healthcare system is nowhere near perfect, but the juxtaposition between it and the gory details of pre-anesthetic and pre-antiseptic surgeries makes me so incredibly thankful. 

By Lindsey Fitzharris,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Butchering Art as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner, 2018 PEN/E.O. Wilson Prize for Literary Science Writing
Short-listed for the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize
A Top 10 Science Book of Fall 2017, Publishers Weekly
A Best History Book of 2017, The Guardian

"Warning: She spares no detail!" —Erik Larson, bestselling author of Dead Wake

In The Butchering Art, the historian Lindsey Fitzharris reveals the shocking world of nineteenth-century surgery and shows how it was transformed by advances made in germ theory and antiseptics between 1860 and 1875. She conjures up early operating theaters—no place for the squeamish—and surgeons, who, working before anesthesia, were lauded for their speed and…


Book cover of The Girl in His Shadow

Alina Rubin Author Of A Girl with a Knife

From my list on making you glad for modern medicine.

Why am I passionate about this?

Stuck at home during the pandemic, I started watching historical fiction and fell in love with the British miniseries, Hornblower. Suddenly I found myself writing my own stories about an imprisoned midshipman and Ella Parker, a surgeon that saves him. But there was a plot hole. Women could not be doctors in 19th-century England, leave alone ship surgeons. Thus, I sent Ella into medical school disguised as a man, and Hearts and Sails series was born. Looking for interesting cases for Ella to observe and treat, I became obsessed with the history of modern medicine. I also wanted my character to overcome great obstacles and eventually prove to others what a woman can do.

Alina's book list on making you glad for modern medicine

Alina Rubin Why did Alina love this book?

The Girl in His Shadow is my favorite comparative fiction. Similar to my story, Nora Beady lives in England, at the time when woman couldn’t practice medicine. But Nora’s path is very different from Ella Parker’s. Nora is a secret assistant to famous Dr. Croft, but her position is threatened when Dr. Daniel Gibson joins the practice. Soon Dr. Gibson sees Nora’s value, and the two become friends and more. The novel is very well-researched, beautifully written, and kept me hooked to the end. This book is great for fans of woman’s fiction with a medical theme. Be ready for detailed surgeries, experiments with ether, patients lost to difficult births and infections, and slow but sure steps of medical progress and perseverance. 

Readers who enjoy the medical details of my book will be treated to a galore of similar themes in The Girl in His Shadow. In the 1840s,…

By Audrey Blake,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Girl in His Shadow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE USA TODAY BESTSELLER!
"An exquisitely detailed journey through the harrowing field of medicine in mid-19th century London."-Tracey Enerson Wood, USA Today bestselling author of The Engineer's Wife and The War Nurse
An unforgettable historical fiction novel about one woman who believed in scientific medicine before the world believed in her.
London, 1845: Raised by the eccentric surgeon Dr. Horace Croft after losing her parents to a deadly pandemic, the orphan Nora Beady knows little about conventional life. While other young ladies were raised to busy themselves with needlework and watercolors, Nora was trained to perfect her suturing and anatomical…


Book cover of The Surgeon's Daughter

Alina Rubin Author Of A Girl with a Knife

From my list on making you glad for modern medicine.

Why am I passionate about this?

Stuck at home during the pandemic, I started watching historical fiction and fell in love with the British miniseries, Hornblower. Suddenly I found myself writing my own stories about an imprisoned midshipman and Ella Parker, a surgeon that saves him. But there was a plot hole. Women could not be doctors in 19th-century England, leave alone ship surgeons. Thus, I sent Ella into medical school disguised as a man, and Hearts and Sails series was born. Looking for interesting cases for Ella to observe and treat, I became obsessed with the history of modern medicine. I also wanted my character to overcome great obstacles and eventually prove to others what a woman can do.

Alina's book list on making you glad for modern medicine

Alina Rubin Why did Alina love this book?

Hooked on book 1, The Girl in His Shadow, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the sequel. Here Nora is studying in medical school in Italy, one of few places that admitted women at the time. While Nora is learning Cesarian section and struggling with the attitudes of male doctors and students, Dr. Gibson works hard to save ill children in London and keep Dr. Croft’s clinic operating. 

I enjoyed the second book almost as much as the first. At times the pace slowed, and some secondary characters were not developed, which is why I say “almost.” I’m glad that I published my book three months before The Surgeon’s Daughter came out. Some similarities, down to minor characters names, were almost uncanny.  

Book cover of Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov

Ruth Schwertfeger Author Of A Nazi Camp Near Danzig: Perspectives on Shame and on the Holocaust from Stutthof

From my list on authors shaped by education in medicine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I find that one of the advantages of having worked as a professor (now Emerita ) of German at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, is that it helped me gain perspective. When I study literature–especially in languages other than English–I am forced to step outside of my everyday world to identify the motif and leitmotif of the author. I am proposing that the medical training of these five authors helped them do the same: to dig below the surface to find other structures and root causes and to present their findings and unique diagnoses.  

Ruth's book list on authors shaped by education in medicine

Ruth Schwertfeger Why did Ruth love this book?

I recommend these short stories for both younger and older readers. In the latter case, they may well be re-reads and if so, they are essential reading in that they lead the reader to reevaluate past aspirations and ambitions. Chekhov’s medical training is immediately apparent in his uncanny ability to dissect both personal and societal issues. 

Though the diagnosis is frequently abrupt and unexpected, the treatment is less obvious. For example, in Gooseberries, written in 1898 as part of a trilogy, the reader is left with no doubt about the diagnosis of the social pretentiousness and even cruelty of the central character, but the possibility that happiness is elusive lingers like the pervasive smell of tobacco on the armchair. These stories are a must-read by the fireside on a rainy night, with the wind howling outside.  

By Anton Chekhov, Richard Pevear (translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, the highly acclaimed translators of War and Peace, Doctor Zhivago, and Anna Karenina, which was an Oprah Book Club pick and million-copy bestseller, bring their unmatched talents to The Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov, a collection of thirty of Chekhov’s best tales from the major periods of his creative life.
 
Considered the greatest short story writer, Anton Chekhov changed the genre itself with his spare, impressionistic depictions of Russian life and the human condition. From characteristically brief, evocative early pieces such as “The Huntsman” and the tour de force “A Boring Story,” to his best-known…


Book cover of Panacea

Andrew Golizsek Author Of Rivers of the Black Moon

From my list on thrillers about pandemics and medical mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a researcher at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and a college professor who has taught biology and anatomy & physiology, I have a unique insight into the mysteries of the human body and how existing and emerging viruses can wreak havoc on the world’s populations. In light of the COVID pandemic that killed millions and the threat of older and increasingly virulent pathogens, I find it terrifying that viruses could be unleashed that leave us defenseless. Despite all our advances and knowledge, medical mysteries continue to intrigue us and spark our imaginations. We are drawn to them, now more than ever, hoping that the fiction we read about will not become reality.

Andrew's book list on thrillers about pandemics and medical mysteries

Andrew Golizsek Why did Andrew love this book?

For me, this book was an intriguing and fast-paced medical thriller centered around a secretive and deadly society keeping alive the belief that human beings deserve a lifetime of pain and suffering since their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

I love reading about strange cults involved in medical mysteries, and this cult happens to be in possession of what it considers an ancient panacea: a cure for all of the world’s illnesses.

I found this book to be a page-turner from the start: fast-moving, intelligent, well-written, and with enough historical background, smart dialogue, and interaction between characters to make it incredibly entertaining.

By F. Paul Wilson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Panacea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two secret societies vie for control of the ultimate medical miracle―Panacea―in the latest novel by New York Times bestselling author F. Paul Wilson, author of the Repairman Jack series.

Finalist in RT Reviewer's Choice Best Book Awards for Best Thriller

F. Paul Wilson is the winner of the Career Achievement in Thriller Fiction in the 2017 RT Reviewers' Choice Best Book Awards

Medical examiner Laura Fanning has two charred corpses and no answers. Both bear a mysterious tattoo but exhibit no known cause of death. Their only connection to one another is a string of puzzling miracle cures. Her preliminary…


Book cover of Obsession

Caroline England Author Of Betray Her

From my list on psychological thrillers with toxic friendships.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before becoming a writer I was a divorce lawyer, so I have plenty of personal experience about the dark side of relationships and I admit to a slight obsession with the human psyche, what goes on behind closed doors and beneath people’s façades! Consequently I love to tell stories about relatable characters who get caught up in extraordinary situations, relationships, pressures, dilemmas or crime. I also enjoy performing a literary sleight of hand in my novels and hopefully surprising my readers!

Caroline's book list on psychological thrillers with toxic friendships

Caroline England Why did Caroline love this book?

The book starts with a wife asking her husband who else he would sleep with, if he could. I loved this hook which any one of us might ask in a casual way, anticipating our partner to say ‘only you, darling!’ When the husband doesn’t give the expected reply, it unsurprisingly opens a can of worms which kept me turning the pages. This compulsive, sexy, roller coaster of a story didn’t disappoint me.

By Amanda Robson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Obsession as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 ebook bestseller

'Thrilling, unputdownable, a fabulous rollercoaster of a read - I was obsessed by this book' B A PARIS, bestselling author of BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

'Compulsive reading with characters you will love to hate and an ending that will make your jaw drop.' JENNY BLACKHURST

One evening, a wife asks her husband a question: who else would you go for, if you could?
It is a simple question - a little game - that will destroy her life.

Carly and Rob are a happy couple. They share happy lives with their children and their close friends Craig…


Book cover of The Prince of Medicine: Galen in the Roman Empire

Josiah Osgood Author Of Rome and the Making of a World State, 150 BCE–20 CE

From my list on the grit and glamor of Ancient Rome.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of ancient Rome. My interest was sparked in my high school Latin classes. On my first trip to Rome, several years later, I truly fell in love. I could see the famed orator delivering his fierce attacks against Catiline amid the grand temples of the Forum and its surrounding hills. I could imagine myself standing in a crowd, listening. In Washington DC, where I now live and teach at Georgetown University, there are classical buildings all around to keep me inspired. I have written a number of books about Roman political history and have also translated the biographer Suetonius and the historian Sallust.

Josiah's book list on the grit and glamor of Ancient Rome

Josiah Osgood Why did Josiah love this book?

This biography of the second century CE celebrity doctor Galen is one of the most surprising and revealing books I’ve ever read about Rome. A native of Asia Minor who got his start treating gladiators, Galen came to Rome and vied for prominence with the city’s intellectuals. By his own account, he wowed Romans with his skill in diagnosis and public vivisections of animals as gruesome as anything you’d see in the arena. Something like one-eighth of all surviving classical Greek literature is made up of Galen’s writings. Susan Mattern excavates this vast body of material to recover Galen’s own astonishing career, his interactions with his patients (including the emperor Marcus Aurelius), and his observations of terrible scenes of Roman life such as a dangerous copper mine, famine in the countryside, and a major fire in 192 that burned down much of the imperial capital.

By Susan P. Mattern,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Prince of Medicine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Galen of Pergamum (A.D. 129 - ca. 216) began his remarkable career tending to wounded gladiators in provincial Asia Minor. Later in life he achieved great distinction as one of a small circle of court physicians to the family of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, at the very heart of Roman society. Susan Mattern's The Prince of Medicine offers the first authoritative biography in English of this brilliant, audacious, and profoundly influential figure.

Like many Greek intellectuals living in the high Roman Empire, Galen was a prodigious polymath, writing on subjects as varied as ethics and eczema, grammar and gout. Indeed, he…


Book cover of Earth Beings: Ecologies of Practice Across Andean Worlds

Catherine J. Allen Author Of The Hold Life Has: Coca and Cultural Identity in an Andean Community

From my list on Andean life, landscape, and personhood.

Why am I passionate about this?

My connection with the Andean highlands of southern Peru stretches back to 1975 when I spent about a year in a small community of Quechua-speaking potato farmers and llama herders. I have returned there many times over the years, most recently in 2019. Its people, their way of life, and vision of the world are dear to my heart and are the subject of The Hold Life Has as well as a play, creative nonfiction, and, more recently, poetry. I love the way anthropology forces me to think outside the box and experience the world with different eyes, something I aim to convey in my work.

Catherine's book list on Andean life, landscape, and personhood

Catherine J. Allen Why did Catherine love this book?

This book is about an unexpected meeting of minds. De la Cadena intended to write an account of a peasant campaign for land led by indigenous peasant leader Mariano Turpo during the 1950-60s.  But early on it became clear that she and Mariano were talking past each other, for Mariano understood his successful activism in terms of his relationship with animate places in the landscape (“earth beings”). The book contains a moving account of how the urban intellectual and traditional Andean leader learned to appreciate and communicate with each other. De la Cadena argues that attention to cultural difference—far from perpetuating false consciousnessmight open the way to radically new politics. Some readers may wish to pass over some dense theoretical passages, but the book is organized so one can do this without losing the larger picture.

By Marisol de la Cadena,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Earth Beings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Earth Beings is the fruit of Marisol de la Cadena's decade-long conversations with Mariano and Nazario Turpo, father and son, runakuna or Quechua people. Concerned with the mutual entanglements of indigenous and nonindigenous worlds, and the partial connections between them, de la Cadena presents how the Turpos' indigenous ways of knowing and being include and exceed modern and nonmodern practices. Her discussion of indigenous political strategies-a realm that need not abide by binary logics-reconfigures how to think about and question modern politics, while pushing her readers to think beyond "hybridity" and toward translation, communication that accepts incommensurability, and mutual difference…


Book cover of Take a Moment

Sandy Barker Author Of A Sunrise Over Bali

From my list on personal growth and transformation.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sandy is a writer, traveller, and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover, and a coffee snob. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her partner, Ben, who she met while travelling in Greece. Their real-life love story inspired Sandy’s debut novel One Summer in Santorini, the first in the five-book Holiday Romance series. The series continues in Paris, Sydney, Bali, and Tuscany. Sandy's standalone novel The Christmas Swap celebrates her favourite time of the year, and her rom-com, The Dating Game, is set in the world of Reality TV.

Sandy's book list on personal growth and transformation

Sandy Barker Why did Sandy love this book?

Kaye’s own diagnosis of a neurological disease sparked the idea for this terrific book―the protagonist, Alex, is diagnosed with MS and transforms her life to avoid being seen as ‘the victim.’ Like the author, Alex displays incredible bravery―she’s terrified of what’s to come but makes active steps in her life to follow her professional and creative dreams, as well as letting someone new into her life. This one tugged at my heartstrings.

By Nina Kaye,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Take a Moment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Life is better lived in the moment

Meet Alex. She has a wonderful fiance, a job she thrives in, and a best friend she's known since childhood. Life's not perfect, but it's pretty fantastic. Until a shock diagnosis suddenly throws everything off course.

But Alex has never been one to back down from a fight. Now single and unemployed, she packs up and moves from her Glasgow hometown to vibrant Birmingham for a fresh start. In a new job, in a new city, she's learning all over again what's important in life.

Friendship, fun and even romance lie just around…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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