Pope Brock is the author of the critically acclaimed Indiana Gothic, the story of his great-grandfathers murder in 1908. Brock has written for numerous publications, including Rolling Stone, Esquire, GQ, and the London Sunday Times Magazine. He lives in upstate New York with his twin daughters, Molly and Hannah.
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Pope Brock answers questions about Charlatan
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 ...
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