Pope Brock biography

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Pope Brock
Photo: Hannah Cattell Brock

Pope Brock

Pope Brock Biography

Pope Brock is a writer, teacher and DJ living in Arlington, Massachusetts. He is the author of three books: Indiana Gothic (Doubleday/Nan A. Talese), about the murder of his great-grandfather; Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, The Man Who Pursued Him and The Age of Flim Flam (Crown), about the most successful quack in American history, and Another Fine Mess: Life on Tomorrow's Moon (Red Hen Press), a work of what might be called speculative nonfiction. His articles have appeared in GQ, Esquire, Rolling Stone, the London Sunday Times Magazine and many other publications.

Since 2005 he has taught in the low-residency MFA Writing Program at the University of Nebraska.

Pope Brock's website

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Interview

Pope Brock explains what drew him to spend two years of his life writing Charlatan, a book about John Brinkley, arguably the biggest con-man in American history who accidentally changed the face of American music.

Why did you decide to tell this story?

I had never heard of John Brinkley before, but within two minutes after stumbling on his name – on museumofhoaxes.com – I was hooked. Any guy who would build the biggest radio station in the world to convince other men to get goat-testicle transplants is a pretty unusual character. He made millions of dollars at this during the Depression – even had women coming in for goat ovaries, which he plugged as a wrinkle-reducer and bust developer. When I learned he was also a pioneer in radio, in advertising, in politics, I knew what I'd be doing for the next two or three years.


What surprised you most about Brinkley's story?

I suppose his enormous impact on pop culture, which he's never gotten credit for. He's like Shoeless Joe Jackson: he's been kept out of the Hall of Fame because he's regarded as a crook. But John Brinkley seized on radio in its infancy with a sort of evil glee, before corporate America had any idea what to do with it, and showed the world the huge potential of broadcast advertising. He also accidentally changed the American pop music scene by giving country music, and later the blues, its first national audience. When he ran ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Pope Brock at BookBrowse
Charlatan jacket
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Pope Brock but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Frank W. Abagnale

    Frank W. Abagnale

    Frank W. Abagnale is one of the world's most respected authorities on forgery, embezzlement and secure documents. For over 35 years he has worked with, advised and consulted with hundreds of financial institutions, ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Charlatan

    Try:
    The Art of The Steal
    by Frank W. Abagnale

  • Morton Meyers M.D.

    Morton Meyers M.D.

    Morton Meyers is emeritus professor and chairman of radiology and emeritus professor of internal medicine in the School of Medicine of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook. He lives in East Setauket, NY. (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Charlatan

    Try:
    Happy Accidents
    by Morton Meyers M.D.

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