The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: How a Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies

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Imagine that your child was born prematurely and your only hope wasn’t a hospital but a sideshow act. It seems ridiculous, but for thousands of parents in the early-twentieth century, it was the truth. A man on the Coney Island boardwalk saved their children’s lives when hospitals could or would not.

Hollywood is full of stories about impersonators who perform good deeds, but real-life tales following that formula are all too rare. And yet The Strange Case of Dr. Couney explores the peculiar life of Martin Couney, a man with no medical degree who battled the establishment and the prevailing opinions about “weakling” babies (including the eugenics community) in order to save the lives of babies.

As the author peels back the onion to reveal more about the life of “Dr.” Couney, she weaves a web that spans two continents and nearly a century. She tracks down some of these incubator babies — elderly people now — who lived rich lives that Couney made possible and sheds light on a selfless self-made man, a maverick of medicine who might not have had the proper education, but who did more than so many of those who looked down on him, his methods, and his patients.


Reviewed By:

Author Dawn Raffel
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher Blue Rider Press
Publish Date 2018-Jul-31
ISBN 9780399175749
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue January 2019
Category History
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