The best way to describe what this book is about is that it is a history of hokum, quackery, crackpots charlatans and chuckleheads as framed by the stages of life and death as refracted through a board game created in 1860 called the Checkered Game of Life. We know this game more by it's 100th anniversary reworking as the game Life.
through this we are treated to essays about eugenics, forced steralizations of the mentally impaired, cryonics, the creation of the Children's Library, how the understanding of the birthing process has changed over the centuries and much more.
throughout Lepore's writing and research are superb, especially when linking individual cases with a broader topic. She is marvelously succint when brevity forces a quick yet through overview.
Eye opening reading about how quackery was once taken far too seriously and how every era has had their Aikens and how we must keep them from power and influence or pay a heavy toll.