The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth

 The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth: And Other Curiosities From the History of Medicine, by Thomas Morris

My oldest would love this book!  The premise is simple:  Morris spent a lot of time combing through antique medical journals for the unusual case studies that were sometimes published in them.  The resulting collection is organized on a somewhat thematic basis, and is a wonderful read (though not for reading over your lunch) and, at the same time, a minor survey of historical medical practices.

One chapter is "Unfortunate Predicaments," featuring such stories as the sailor who swallowed pocketknives in quantity as a party trick, which worked for years but eventually ended badly; and a young boy who was playing with a goose's larynx (it works like a kazoo!) and coughed, which lodged the larynx in his own throat.

"Mysterious Illnesses" contains some very eye-opening stories, and "Dubious Remedies" describes such inventions as mercury cigarettes and healing lotions made of reptile dung.  Then there are "Horrendous Operations," "Tall Tales," and "Remarkable Recoveries" -- all quite fascinating and gruesome.  An excellent non-fiction choice for RIP, in fact!


  1. The title certainly caught my attention. I'm going to see if my library has it, o Jean of the eclectic and unusual books!


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