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Starvation Heights: The True Story of an American Doctor and the Murder of a British Heiress

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In 1911, Claire and Dora Williamson travelled to Dr. Linda Hazzard's Institute of Natural Therapeutics near Seattle, Washington. There, instead of receiving medical attention, the wealthy sisters were tortured, starved, and robbed of their inheritance. Dora escaped, but Claire was not as fortunate. In detail, the author recreates the shocking 1912 trial of Dr. Hazzard for In 1911, Claire and Dora Williamson travelled to Dr. Linda Hazzard's Institute of Natural Therapeutics near Seattle, Washington. There, instead of receiving medical attention, the wealthy sisters were tortured, starved, and robbed of their inheritance. Dora escaped, but Claire was not as fortunate. In detail, the author recreates the shocking 1912 trial of Dr. Hazzard for the murder of Claire. Photo insert.


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In 1911, Claire and Dora Williamson travelled to Dr. Linda Hazzard's Institute of Natural Therapeutics near Seattle, Washington. There, instead of receiving medical attention, the wealthy sisters were tortured, starved, and robbed of their inheritance. Dora escaped, but Claire was not as fortunate. In detail, the author recreates the shocking 1912 trial of Dr. Hazzard for In 1911, Claire and Dora Williamson travelled to Dr. Linda Hazzard's Institute of Natural Therapeutics near Seattle, Washington. There, instead of receiving medical attention, the wealthy sisters were tortured, starved, and robbed of their inheritance. Dora escaped, but Claire was not as fortunate. In detail, the author recreates the shocking 1912 trial of Dr. Hazzard for the murder of Claire. Photo insert.

30 review for Starvation Heights: The True Story of an American Doctor and the Murder of a British Heiress

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    Gregg Olsen's account of the exposure and trial of early-twentieth-century Seattle "healer" Linda Burfield Hazzard chiefly interested me because of the striking similarity between Hazzard's ideas about health and some ideas that are current among first-world health faddists--indeed they may never have really gone away. Hazzard, who was yet another played-down, Minnesota-grown serial killer (Carl Panzram didn't hail from Lake Wobegon, evidently), was a proponent of "the fasting cure." People's bo Gregg Olsen's account of the exposure and trial of early-twentieth-century Seattle "healer" Linda Burfield Hazzard chiefly interested me because of the striking similarity between Hazzard's ideas about health and some ideas that are current among first-world health faddists--indeed they may never have really gone away. Hazzard, who was yet another played-down, Minnesota-grown serial killer (Carl Panzram didn't hail from Lake Wobegon, evidently), was a proponent of "the fasting cure." People's bodies, Dr. Hazzard proposed, were full of "poisons" that came from overeating and especially the consumption of meat. The fasting cure, which included daily enemas and bodily manipulation (terrific blows to the head, back, and stomach), would purify the body and prepare it for the establishment of perfect health. Substitute the word "toxin" for "poison" and and you basically have the same pseudo-scientific premise as anyone who ever advised a credulous public to go on a seven-day juice fast, submit to Rolfing, or endure high colonic. Until WWII many people had a healthy distrust of what we would consider conventional medicine. Traditional/herbal medicine was familiar and more affordable, as were a slew of less creditable remedies like patent medicines, faith cures, and general quackery. Many of Dr. Hazzard's patients claimed that their lives were saved by her methods. A significant number didn't live to attest to the value of the cure, and strangely enough Dr. Hazzard ended up in possession of their belongings and sometimes their estates. When a pair of wealthy (and perfectly healthy) English sisters fell into her clutches in 1910, the reality of what was going on at her health institute--locally called "Starvation Heights"--became an international sensation. Olsen, who is a New York Times bestselling author, got hold of a great story. But as a frequent reader of true crime, I was sadly disappointed. Firstly, although Olsen dwells lovingly on the little foibles and refinements of the two main victims, he spends almost no time on Dr. Hazzard's motives, her psychology, or even her life history. I have heard crime investigators talk about wanting to focus more on the victims of serial killers than on the killers themselves (which would add to the notoriety they presumably seek), but this doesn't necessarily make for a good book. What was Hazzard like as a girl and a young woman? What was her family history? What made her decide to go into medicine at a time when female doctors were shunned and ridiculed? Why the fasting cure? Surely if she just wanted to kill patients and take their money there were more rapid methods: most of her victims lingered for as many as 50 days. Olsen just tells us (again and again) that she was brash, outspoken, possessed of manly physical strength and a loud voice, and that she dominated her henpecked husband. She was a wicked virago and unnatural woman. How is this any different from the way that men of her own time viewed her? Hazzard often claimed to be suffering the martyrdom of a woman in a man's world. Regardless of her own hideous acts, this was certainly the case. Hazzard was as much on trial for being a "woman doctor" and for violating Edwardian ideals of womanhood as she was for her actual crimes. And what about all the people living near Starvation Heights who lauded Hazzard as a pillar of the community even as they witnessed the parade of cadaverous patients dragging themselves around Hazzard's property and the nearby roads? Italicized mini-accounts from Hazzard's neighbors stuck in anyhow seem like a clumsy attempt to inject the social history that is lacking. Finally I felt that Olsen's enterprise was undermined by what I can only call bad writing. The tortured syntax of many of his sentences was a tedious distraction without adding any poetry to the telling. I was particularly underwhelmed by a description of newspaper reporters mobbing Hazzard outside the courthouse, "like flies to a dog's old bone." A lot of it wouldn't have gotten past even the most jaded of Comp 101 instructors. I can only imagine the game struggles and sad defeat of the copyeditor on this project. Yes, I say it, as one who should be in fear and trembling to criticize a successful and well-known author--the writing was pretty darn bad. The contrast with the well-written, exhaustively researched book I started reading immediately after finishing Starvation Heights (The Last Lincoln Conspirator: John Surratt's Flight from the Gallows, by Andrew C. A. Jampoler) was particularly dramatic and damning. Greggs is a NYT bestselling author; Jsmpoler is a sales and marketing executive for the international aerodynamics industry. I never associated marketing executives with deathless prose before, but I am starting to associate deathless prose with the NYT bestseller list less and less every day. As always I would love to see what an Erik Larsen or a David Schecter would have done with this historical crime spree. I feel sure they would have made some connection to the way our own society flirts with the idea of abandoning Western medicine for alternative healthcare. As someone who walks a fine line between rejecting and embracing conventional medicine I found this story a timely reminder to know what you're getting into--with doctors and with "natural" cures. Just because something is natural doesn't mean it's not dangerous, and the promoters of alternative cures may be in it for more than just the public good, as Dr. Hazzard's victims learned to their sorrow.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    The first half of this book was amazing; equal parts gripping, terrifying, and heart-wrenching. The writing brought both the setting and the characters vividly to life for me. I was RIGHT THERE with these two poor sisters. Only two true crime books have disturbed me to the point of giving me nightmares, and this was one of them. This is not only an historical account of the murders committed by "doctor" Hazzard, but also an interesting study on the dangers of good people, such as the Williamson The first half of this book was amazing; equal parts gripping, terrifying, and heart-wrenching. The writing brought both the setting and the characters vividly to life for me. I was RIGHT THERE with these two poor sisters. Only two true crime books have disturbed me to the point of giving me nightmares, and this was one of them. This is not only an historical account of the murders committed by "doctor" Hazzard, but also an interesting study on the dangers of good people, such as the Williamson sisters, believing preposterous things, and why we need to speak out against medical quackery and pseudo-science. The second half of the book (investigation and trial) was rather bland and sometimes pretty repetitive, and I found myself just wanting to get to the end of it already. If the last half had been as engrossing as the first, this would have been a 5-star book in my opinion. I highly recommend this book, especially to those who are interested in true crime and/or the sham of fasting for better health.

  3. 5 out of 5

    La Tonya Jordan

    In 1911 Claire and Dora Williamson arrived on the shores of the Pacific Northwest to a small lumber and farming community in Olalla, Washington forever to be changed in the events that followed. Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard was a fasting specialist. She had the fasting cure that could bring perfect health. Claire and Dora Williamson, sisters and wealthy British heiresses, where faddists, vegetarians, and into the next best health trend. Putting themselves under the care of Dr. Hazzard lead to this In 1911 Claire and Dora Williamson arrived on the shores of the Pacific Northwest to a small lumber and farming community in Olalla, Washington forever to be changed in the events that followed. Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard was a fasting specialist. She had the fasting cure that could bring perfect health. Claire and Dora Williamson, sisters and wealthy British heiresses, where faddists, vegetarians, and into the next best health trend. Putting themselves under the care of Dr. Hazzard lead to this true crime mystery. Dr. Hazzard was a powerful persuasive woman who thought she was introducing new alternatives to medicine, in healing the infirm, where traditional medicine and doctors had given up on. In reality she was starving her patients to death and stealing their money to make herself wealthy. Follow this true crime mystery from murder, mayhem, missing bodies, bigamy, the trial of lies and cover up, and the passion of British Vic Counsel Lucian Agassiz in bringing Dr. Hazzard to justice for her heinous life work. Quote: The List was was astonishing in its breadth. Cancer, toothache, psoriasis, heart trouble, tuberculosis, epilepsy, insanity - all had been cured by the fasting specialist from Seattle. "It's your brain, dear," she declared. "Your trouble is not your body, but your brain. There's been a reason why doctors haven't been able to figure out what is wrong with your health.....it is your brain." Or was it simply the fact that the victim in primary question was seen as some foolish British faddist; someone who availed herself a treatment and suffered the consequences of her poor choice?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    In 1910, two wealthy young Englishwomen, called Miss Claire and Miss Dorothea Williamson, travelling in America, saw an advertisement in a Seattle daily newspaper and wrote off for a book titled, “Fasting for the Cure of Disease.” Although wealthy, the two sisters were orphaned and without any definite sense of purpose. In other words, they had both too much money and too much time on their hands. They had taken health cures before, but were afraid that relatives would mock them if they suggeste In 1910, two wealthy young Englishwomen, called Miss Claire and Miss Dorothea Williamson, travelling in America, saw an advertisement in a Seattle daily newspaper and wrote off for a book titled, “Fasting for the Cure of Disease.” Although wealthy, the two sisters were orphaned and without any definite sense of purpose. In other words, they had both too much money and too much time on their hands. They had taken health cures before, but were afraid that relatives would mock them if they suggested they were interested in the work of Dr Linda Hazzard; who had plans to open a sanatorium in Olalla, Washington State. Her belief was that almost every ailment were caused by dietary factors and could be cured by fasting. With both Claire and Dora having a feeling that they were unwell and no sense of well-being, the two hugged the idea of a new cure as a delicious secret between them. Letters were exchanged and Dr Hazzard declared they would be perfect for the cure. Without letting their relatives know, Miss Clare and Miss Williamson set off to visit Dr Hazzard. Her clinic was not yet ready, but it would soon be known by locals as “Starvation Heights.” This is an excellent historical true crime book. The beginning deals with the case of the Williamson sisters; which I have to say, unfolds like a thriller. As the two sisters head off, full of naïve optimism, you just wish you could do something to stop them. This is also a story of great bravery when the girls former nurse, believing something is wrong, goes against all the instincts of a servant of that time to take matters into her own hands and travels halfway around the world to discover what is going on. When the authorities become involved, Linda Hazzard has to defend her methods in a court case. The author really does a wonderful job of telling this story with great detail. There will always be the gullible and the naïve and there will always be those who intend to exploit them. Even now, Dr Hazzard’s methods are shocking and, the beginning of the book, is often quite upsetting. However, there were those who defended her staunchly. She was, it has to be said, a woman who seems more suited to this, modern age, than the early 1900’s. You can almost imagine her setting up a web page and drawing even more people into her net than she managed with newspaper advertisements. She was seen by many as loud and bossy. When she divorced, she left her two children with her mother and went off to follow her dream of having her own clinic. Viewed with suspicion, her lack of ‘normal’ female delicacy saw her viewed askance, and possibly this lack of femininity went against her. However, read this fascinating book and make up your own mind about her guilt. I have never read anything by this author before, but I was very impressed. If you enjoy true crime, then this is certainly an excellent read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    ‘Starvation Heights’ is as much about the general human capacity for self-delusion as it is about a particularly spectacular and charismatic lunatic criminal. It will be easy, I suspect, for most of us to wonder at the credulity and gullibility of people, especially young women, in reading about this amazing true crime story which occurred at the turn of the century (1910). Deadly health cures were being touted as fabulously effective by so-called ‘scientists’ and ‘doctors’, most of whom did not ‘Starvation Heights’ is as much about the general human capacity for self-delusion as it is about a particularly spectacular and charismatic lunatic criminal. It will be easy, I suspect, for most of us to wonder at the credulity and gullibility of people, especially young women, in reading about this amazing true crime story which occurred at the turn of the century (1910). Deadly health cures were being touted as fabulously effective by so-called ‘scientists’ and ‘doctors’, most of whom did not even have a high school diploma. Unfortunately, there were no shortage of willing victims any more than there were lawyers willing to prosecute or police officers wanting to do arrests. As usual in such cases where victims hold some responsibility for their fleecing and/or destruction, even if not anything near as much responsibility for it all as their beloved villainous crook, courts are reluctant to spend much time and especially money prosecuting these bad guys even today unless evidence is overwhelming and dead bodies are piling up. Sham health cures and fake doctors who lure in hypochondriacs and ‘beautiful people’ wannabes are low on the list for those pursuing criminal action against lawbreakers, especially in poor counties or states. Purveyors of illegal, dangerous and unproven weight-loss schemes for improving health and beauty easily would overwhelm every court in the world if prosecutors vigorously pursued convictions. Advertised health-improvement claims from ‘legitimate’ spas, meditation centers, health resorts and fat farms of today do not raise from most people hardly a passing doubt despite their obvious hokum. So, looking back at a time where social media consisted of newspapers only, and education was either shallow or nonexistent, think of how much easier it would be to convince customers of the health benefits of unproven practices when knowledge was spread by mostly gossip and rumor, ads and fads. Sisters Dorothea and Claire Williamson were orphaned while young, but in 1910 they were in their mid-thirties. Unmarried, wealthy, having gone to the best finishing schools in Europe and England, they were traveling first across Canada to Vancouver, British Columbia, and then down to the United States and Seattle, Washington. Although they had relatives, money and property all over the world, they yet were naive and trusting, especially Claire. Their journey was ostensibly about visiting relatives, but they were also very much interested in improving their digestive health by visiting popular health institutes for the upper classes which were all the rage at the time. (For an excellent satirical, but well-researched, fictional novel about the 1900’s fad of ‘healthy’ cleansing of one’s digestive tract in America, read T. C. Boyle’s The Road to Wellville.) The sisters had already stopped at several famous and small sanitariums, institutions and ‘hospitals’ that promised to cure many kinds of aches, pains and nebulous, scientifically described, diseases which haunted the bored and inactive moneyed classes. At the turn of the century, most of the health institutes of the time cured their patients of excess money through the most recent fad of expensive treatments of cleansing diets and enemas. Women of wealth often went to these digestive health and diet clinics for such ‘diseases’ as occasional discomforts of the uterus, diagnosed by mercenary fake and real medical doctors. One such ‘doctor’ was at work in Seattle. ‘Dr.’ Linda Burfield Hazzard advertised in the local Seattle newspaper about her institution in Olalla, Washington, and offered her book, Fasting for the Cure of Disease. She was well-respected, politically and socially powerful with highly-placed supporters and deep pockets. Under her care, people often fasted for over 30 days and more. Her treatments involved ‘meals’ of ‘fresh’ tomato and asparagus juice, with gallons of hot water enemas which lasted hours. Her patients were apparently so grateful to her for curing all of their bodily cares, they sometimes signed over all of their worldly goods to her (view spoiler)[shortly before they disappeared forever, leaving her institute feet first, carried out by the Hazzards’ favorite discreet local funeral director, perhaps, or their bodies may have been cut up and the flesh boiled away in kitchen pots. (hide spoiler)] Many of those who survived truly were grateful to Linda, utterly convinced that having been reduced to 60 pounds helped their health improve. It took awhile, but reporters, witnesses and detective work eventually revealed Linda and her husband, the handsome Sam, were not exactly what they claimed. Who were they, really? Did Dora and Claire survive? Read the book. It is fascinating, and all true. The author Gregg Olsen, an investigative reporter, wrote the book in the style of a fact-based fiction novel. It sometimes led him into creating assumed but logical scenes. I get it - he wanted to humanize the victims of the Hazzards. While the story is backed up with research, actual documents and newspaper reports of the time, and he does really try to keep to the story as told by witnesses, I felt sometimes he wandered too much into fictional territory. Nonetheless, what an incredible true crime!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    The first third of the book was interesting. But the entire was difficult to read. It's choppy and in a rather archaic style, IMHO. It's occurring during the first decade of the 20th Century near Seattle. There is much repetition and the entire core of the belief system, diet theory, fasting regime that was proposed by Mrs. Hazzard in her estate /spa placement could have been described and eye witness reports included too, within half these number of pages. The court cases, the letters of witnes The first third of the book was interesting. But the entire was difficult to read. It's choppy and in a rather archaic style, IMHO. It's occurring during the first decade of the 20th Century near Seattle. There is much repetition and the entire core of the belief system, diet theory, fasting regime that was proposed by Mrs. Hazzard in her estate /spa placement could have been described and eye witness reports included too, within half these number of pages. The court cases, the letters of witness, the sisters' letters to each other- those first level source materials were better than the non-fiction "connection" to all of this in one progressive tale. Even now, many people do practice medicine under other aspects of specialty treatments described as diet, mud baths, sweat or colonic regimes or supplemental additions -all of these- without a license. Not all of them get caught. These particular sanitarium surrounds and the physical nature of the place even today does sound creepy. Very creepy. But the telling of this nasty woman and her entire story (she was exiled by law to leave and went to New Zealand and yet ultimately returned to the same estate)- didn't hold together well in execution.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kavita

    This book is about two rich sisters who encounter a quack and pay with their lives. There is not much wrong with the sisters that a nine to five job and some brisk exercise could not have cured. But having too much money, they instead get themselves admitted to a sanatorium run by Linda Hazzard to undergo a fasting treatment, and one of them dies due to starvation. It comes out that the doctor had tricked the gradually weakening sisters to turn over their fortune to her. After the death of one o This book is about two rich sisters who encounter a quack and pay with their lives. There is not much wrong with the sisters that a nine to five job and some brisk exercise could not have cured. But having too much money, they instead get themselves admitted to a sanatorium run by Linda Hazzard to undergo a fasting treatment, and one of them dies due to starvation. It comes out that the doctor had tricked the gradually weakening sisters to turn over their fortune to her. After the death of one of the sisters, their old nurse, who, not having too much money, had to make do with sense instead and had to come all the way from Australia to America to rescue the other sister. The book is divided into three parts. The first one deals with the actual story and is the most interesting part of the book. It is chilling and every word is interesting to keep you riveted. Part two is about how the investigators get the evidence. Some parts of this section are very interesting but I felt it dragged on for too long and got really boring in parts. I also felt that the narrative jumped around too much to retain constant interest. Part three is a description of the trial, and the narrative picks up a little bit. The author has tried to be balanced about the subjects and presents everyone according to how they were perceived during the time. This means that at some places he treats a person nicely and judges them harshly in another part of the book. This was a little confusing at first but I quickly got used to it. Overall, the book could have done with some editing, but it is still a good book because of the detailed research that went into it, coupled with the fact that there do not seem to be many books on this subject.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    A far cry from the sensational stuff on the shelves today, this book of true crime is based in solid research and the writing is excellent. Here's the story: Set in 1911, two sisters, Claire and Dora Williamson, were firm believers in alternative medical treatments and had the reputation among family and friends as being "faddists," or latching on to all types of non-medical therapeutical cures. While vacationing in Canada that year, they came across some information relating to a "fasting cure" A far cry from the sensational stuff on the shelves today, this book of true crime is based in solid research and the writing is excellent. Here's the story: Set in 1911, two sisters, Claire and Dora Williamson, were firm believers in alternative medical treatments and had the reputation among family and friends as being "faddists," or latching on to all types of non-medical therapeutical cures. While vacationing in Canada that year, they came across some information relating to a "fasting cure" under the auspices of one Linda Burfield Hazzard, who never graduated from medical school but had a license as an osteopath in the state of Washington. Her ad promised a cure in the woods of Washington state in a restful sanitarium, and this captured the imagination of the sisters who decided to go for the cure. Neither of them was really sick but they figured they'd get a few treatments to improve their overall general health. Very bad mistake. Even now there are people that believe in this "fasting cure." If you pull up Linda Burfield Hazzard's name on the internet, her methods are still being touted, even though there were a number of deaths among the people in her care who had undertaken the fasting cure. I HIGHLY recommend this book. The author has done such a great job here and frankly I'm a bit surprised that this book is not more well known.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shaina

    This was an awesome piece of history and also like a great white whale in some ways. I was determined to finish it. I wanted to see justice. I’m very glad I read it. Things like this in history, real things and how they went on, so long — it just baffles me. I can’t believe I read all that in that time. My eyes were “buggin” that’s for sure. It was during a time I didn’t feel well and reading was my happy little island. If you are interested in people who will try to sell anything as a cure, to This was an awesome piece of history and also like a great white whale in some ways. I was determined to finish it. I wanted to see justice. I’m very glad I read it. Things like this in history, real things and how they went on, so long — it just baffles me. I can’t believe I read all that in that time. My eyes were “buggin” that’s for sure. It was during a time I didn’t feel well and reading was my happy little island. If you are interested in people who will try to sell anything as a cure, to wealthy people ... this is your book. If you like history, if you like medical history and things of that nature then see it through. I got attached to the two main sisters as characters in this book. They were real people. I went through it with them. Just one of the many shocking things that happens and no one knows until it’s too late.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Turner

    Well, that was certainly a grim read! What a God-awful way for those people to die. Well written and very well researched. The author brought the location and the people to life for me. It was certainly different than any other true crime books I've read and I liked it a lot. October 2014 From time to time, and for no particular reason, I find myself thinking of Starvation Heights and the notorious Linda Hazzard, and because the story has stayed with me I've increased my rating from 3 stars to 4 sta Well, that was certainly a grim read! What a God-awful way for those people to die. Well written and very well researched. The author brought the location and the people to life for me. It was certainly different than any other true crime books I've read and I liked it a lot. October 2014 From time to time, and for no particular reason, I find myself thinking of Starvation Heights and the notorious Linda Hazzard, and because the story has stayed with me I've increased my rating from 3 stars to 4 stars.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Trixie Fontaine

    GREAT true crime: well-researched, engaging/absorbing, richly detailed. LOVED it partly for the local lore and how deeply rooted it is in King, Kitsap and Pierce counties (WA state) and partly loved it because it's about a woman (killer) who seized/exercised power in a time period when most women didn't (her victims, for example). Timely reading for me picking it up now with the New Age sweat lodge deaths/"murders" in the news recently. There are many appealing aspects of the women's stories: the GREAT true crime: well-researched, engaging/absorbing, richly detailed. LOVED it partly for the local lore and how deeply rooted it is in King, Kitsap and Pierce counties (WA state) and partly loved it because it's about a woman (killer) who seized/exercised power in a time period when most women didn't (her victims, for example). Timely reading for me picking it up now with the New Age sweat lodge deaths/"murders" in the news recently. There are many appealing aspects of the women's stories: the romance of being rich, globetrotting, semi-orphaned sisters longing for more and being vulnerable to anyone offering to provide a cure for things feeling not-quite-right in their lives, and the amazing strength and fortitude of the murderess "Doctor" Linda Hazzard before people used terms like "brainwashing" or "cult of personality". Olsen did a great job of telling the story in a way that maintains mass appeal while making sure to highlight gender issues and the way all of the women's sex and class in that milieu of the early 20th century influenced them and people's responses to them, along with noting how the poverty and illiteracy of Hazzard's neighbors in Kitsap county made it possible for her to get away with imprisoning and starving people to death over and over again. Olsen is not at all heavy-handed about the class and gender issues, it's just all part of the story. A fun, informative and mildly provocative read especially for anyone interested in true stories along the lines of fiction like _The Road to Wellville_. It's also nice to read a book in the true crime genre that's not horrifyingly, violently graphic.

  12. 4 out of 5

    BAM Endlessly Booked

    True Crime Commemoration # 7 Setting: early 1900s Washington state

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    True crime writing and I have a complicated history, I am fascinated but somehow also extra creeped out, in a way fiction just doesn't achieve. I think it harks back to the first true crime book I read many a year ago. Let me explain briefly, when my kids were little ones I signed them up for the library summer reading program right along with swimming lessons. To keep my brain from turning to oatmeal during this stage of my life I read. I read a lot. Said little ones learned to bring me a book True crime writing and I have a complicated history, I am fascinated but somehow also extra creeped out, in a way fiction just doesn't achieve. I think it harks back to the first true crime book I read many a year ago. Let me explain briefly, when my kids were little ones I signed them up for the library summer reading program right along with swimming lessons. To keep my brain from turning to oatmeal during this stage of my life I read. I read a lot. Said little ones learned to bring me a book mark if they really wanted my attention. And during the summer reading program I gave myself a little extra push and attempted to stretch my mind by reading according to the same requirements, which were at that library in that time a certain number of fiction books, a certain number of non fiction books, attending several programs and such. So, I was casting about one day for a non fiction read and a co-worker suggested I try a true crime book, she herself found them addictive. So, I randomly grabbed one and commenced to read after the little darlings were in bed. My random choice was terrifying. It took place in my neighborhood, the criminal stalked women by showing them real estate, the wrong guy was imprisoned so the crimes went on and I was reading all this while my husband was going to school full time and working full time at night. It was a hot summer but I closed and locked all the windows and sweat myself into a tizzy. I borrowed this from my mother on a weekend visit and while Starvation Heights didn't work my imagination quite the same way it was well written, well researched and engaging. The first half was a little more engaging for me, the run up to the actual case the book is based on. What a sad and awful way to die. The second half is about the court case, interesting but less gripping somehow. Whether or not the "doctor" or fasting cure homeopathic practitioner Linda Hazzard killed her patients on purpose or was just a quack totally committed to her "cure" or blindingly negligent it seems plain to me that she did indeed kill her patients and it certainly looks as if she set about to profit financially from these tragic deaths. I wish there had been pictures but there were quite a few to be found online. Harrowing story.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Perri

    Olsen does a great job creating time and place- the early 1900s in the Pacific Northwest. It's most astonishing to read about the people -a charismatic charlatan without a medical degree becomes a physician, naive people allowing their body to be abused, and victims having to pay for a trial prosecution. I think the last quarter of the book could have been compressed to make this a better book. Olsen does a great job creating time and place- the early 1900s in the Pacific Northwest. It's most astonishing to read about the people -a charismatic charlatan without a medical degree becomes a physician, naive people allowing their body to be abused, and victims having to pay for a trial prosecution. I think the last quarter of the book could have been compressed to make this a better book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    John Hager

    This is a terrific book about the nature of small towns and authority and the need to feel healthy at all costs. I'd hesitate to describe it strictly as non-fiction; some of the passages in the book provide personal information that couldn't come from newspaper accounts, interviews or even diaries. If you're looking for the lurid, gory details of true crime, look elsewhere. This book provides little of that; what details there are come across as more clinical than titillating. They provide a gri This is a terrific book about the nature of small towns and authority and the need to feel healthy at all costs. I'd hesitate to describe it strictly as non-fiction; some of the passages in the book provide personal information that couldn't come from newspaper accounts, interviews or even diaries. If you're looking for the lurid, gory details of true crime, look elsewhere. This book provides little of that; what details there are come across as more clinical than titillating. They provide a grim enough medical backdrop to the truly awful facts of the book. The real horror of this work, and the thing that scared me the most, was the reaction of the town and the local authorities to the nature of this treatment. Lots of shrugging; the assumption that the rich people who patronized the resort must be paying good money to get themselves starved; an unwillingness to prosecute by a money-starved (yes, that was intentional) county; a business community that was willing to overlook starving people stealing from their stores. Someone should have said something, demanded something, shouted something to someone in power long before Hazzard was arrested, but everyone in town was too busy minding their own business. It's appalling and somehow very modern and it makes the work much creepier than just a retelling of the defendant's actions alone. One person was charged with the crimes inflicted on the customers of the resort; a whole community committed the silence that allowed the crimes to happen.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Although this is certainly categorized as true crime, it's atypical of the genre in that it's not the usual contemporary "Husband kills his wife to profit from the life insurance policy and run away with the mistress" sort of thing. (This means I can feel less stupid for reading it. Just kidding. Sort of.) Rather, it's set in the early 20th century; two middle-aged, unmarried sisters from England arrive at a sanitorium in the Pacific Northwest to undergo a "starving treatment" that's meant to im Although this is certainly categorized as true crime, it's atypical of the genre in that it's not the usual contemporary "Husband kills his wife to profit from the life insurance policy and run away with the mistress" sort of thing. (This means I can feel less stupid for reading it. Just kidding. Sort of.) Rather, it's set in the early 20th century; two middle-aged, unmarried sisters from England arrive at a sanitorium in the Pacific Northwest to undergo a "starving treatment" that's meant to improve their health. The predictable unfortunate result of this treatment befalls one of the sisters, who dies of malnutrition, and the doctor who hawked the treatment is prosecuted for murder. The book is well-written, especially when compared to most of this genre, and moves quickly. You may feel a bit dismayed when you read about the ultimate fate of the murderer/doctor -- I certainly was -- but this is a fine book about an unusual and disturbing case.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Denise Spicer

    Beware: This book will probably put you off tomatoes and asparagus!!! Linda Burfield Hazzard, quack “doctor” and serial killer is featured in this book by crime writer and Washington resident Gregg Olson. He outlines in great detail (419pages), her heinous crimes. She administers a “fasting” cure and other alternative treatments in a cruel, almost sadistic way at her clinic (nicknamed Starvation Heights) in a small town on Puget Sound. She also steals from her clients. The book focuses on the cas Beware: This book will probably put you off tomatoes and asparagus!!! Linda Burfield Hazzard, quack “doctor” and serial killer is featured in this book by crime writer and Washington resident Gregg Olson. He outlines in great detail (419pages), her heinous crimes. She administers a “fasting” cure and other alternative treatments in a cruel, almost sadistic way at her clinic (nicknamed Starvation Heights) in a small town on Puget Sound. She also steals from her clients. The book focuses on the case of two sisters, Britishers Claire and Dora Williamson who come under the sway of this manipulative woman. The author outlines the sequence of events and follows the sensational 1912 murder trial. The book also includes some interesting information about Washington State (especially Seattle) at that time period.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Allison Schroeder

    Rich people are brainless

  19. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Oh good lord, whatever you do, don't sign yourself up for a fasting cure courtesy of Linda Hazzard, the kind-of not-really "doctor" who ran a remote, isolated spa-type sanitarium in Olalla, WA back in the first decades of the century. Hazzard had one prescription for all her patients: stop eating, take daily enemas, and submit to hard-fisted "osteopathic" treatments that consisted of being smacked and pummeled in an effort to expunge the body's "poisons." Amazingly, plenty of people signed up. M Oh good lord, whatever you do, don't sign yourself up for a fasting cure courtesy of Linda Hazzard, the kind-of not-really "doctor" who ran a remote, isolated spa-type sanitarium in Olalla, WA back in the first decades of the century. Hazzard had one prescription for all her patients: stop eating, take daily enemas, and submit to hard-fisted "osteopathic" treatments that consisted of being smacked and pummeled in an effort to expunge the body's "poisons." Amazingly, plenty of people signed up. Many of them died. The rich ones were often encouraged to sign over their worldly possessions to Hazzard and her ne'er-do-well husband Samuel before joining the choir invisible. If they seemed to resist that idea, there are signs that Linda and Samuel may have saved them the trouble by forging the paperwork. In a few cases, it's possible that patients who didn't die of outright starvation may have been helped along by various means, including a bullet in the head. Either way, folks who live in the region are matter-of-fact about the human remains that you can still dig up in the ravine behind Hazzard's place. And when Hazzard took over the care (and disposition) of two wealthy English sisters, one of whom died and the other of whom was rescued at the last minute by her elderly nurse, the criminal prosecution that followed seemed to point toward any number of other, similar cases from her shadowy past. Olsen is a true crime writer, so this is his milieu and he does a good job of bringing the events to life despite the intervening years. Occasionally this rings a little melodramatic, as he recreates conversations and internal ponderings in richly-imagined scenes--and overall there's a sense that he's diligently introducing every possible data point he could find. (It's terrific that he knew what the weather was like on a particular day, but it doesn't always really matter and we don't *always* have to know. In his gracious acknowledgements, Olsen thanks the many folks who helped him do his research, and I had the sense that he included some details because others worked hard to find them for him.) The book is extensively, impressively researched--but it might have been a little less so, and shorter, without much harm. The story itself is fascinating both for the bare facts of the case--which are strange and grotesque enough--as well as for the perspective it gives on the medical profession. At that time, without any formal medical training, Linda Hazzard could still declare herself a doctor and practice her "cure" because the laws against it were just being formed. For all the red tape and bureaucracy of the medical profession today, it's a vast improvement over a period when any snake-oil saleswoman could hang out a shingle and start (legally) fleecing sick, desperate people of their worldly goods. It's also interesting from a gender standpoint. Then, as now, the health industry was dominated by authoritarian male voices. When Linda Hazzard's cure was challenged, she cried sexism--and to some extent she was right. There was no scientific consensus as to whether her cure had medical benefits, and there were plenty of other charlatans around practicing electrical, phrenological, and other kinds of quackery. To some extent, Hazzard's cries of sexist persecution ring true. What's hardest to understand about this story is whether Hazzard herself truly believed in her methods or whether she was cynical and cold-blooded in using them to murder the vulnerable for her own advantage. Her vision of a Kellogg-style sanitarium on the West Coast seems genuine--but her bizarre habits of autopsying her dead patients without medical permission, wearing the clothes of the deceased, and appropriating their possessions, seems vulture-ish and pathological. By all accounts, Hazzard was a magnetic, hypnotic, frighteningly confident and charismatic woman. Her husband, Samuel, is a shadowy figure who played an uncertain part in all of this. And in the end, the courts could not find her unreservedly guilty. Over and over--there was more than one accusation, more than one case--Linda Hazzard escaped full condemnation, and disappeared to reinvent herself somewhere else. Whatever else she was, cold-blooded murderer or misguided, sociopathic medical visionary, she was a survivor.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Constance

    I would recommend this to any fan of true-crime, especially those who enjoy a little northwest atmosphere in the mix. Yes, the writing is a bit over-the-top with a torrid love of adjectives that could only be rivaled by the likes of, say, V. C. Andrews ("It was one of those sweltering summer days when the saffron light of the sun smacks the back of the neck, causing baby fine hairs to adhere to the skin and armpits to rain down..."). And the style, which intermixes details of the events leading I would recommend this to any fan of true-crime, especially those who enjoy a little northwest atmosphere in the mix. Yes, the writing is a bit over-the-top with a torrid love of adjectives that could only be rivaled by the likes of, say, V. C. Andrews ("It was one of those sweltering summer days when the saffron light of the sun smacks the back of the neck, causing baby fine hairs to adhere to the skin and armpits to rain down..."). And the style, which intermixes details of the events leading up to Linda Hazzard's 1911 trial for starving heiress Claire Williamson with more modern reminiscences of Starvation Heights' dubious proprietess from local Olalla natives, is a little disjointed. It's still a page-turner that will keep casual and serious readers engrossed and speculating as to Hazzard's real motives and real beliefs - both of which we may never know. p.s. I have nothing against V. C. Andrews. Call it a guilty pleasure, if you will. ;)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    I will be kind and give this a 2 star rating. 2 stars because honestly the story itself ( not the one that is written in the book) is so damn horrifying....and interesting. What I really want to do is burn it. I want to burn this book. I actually wanted to DNF it so bad, but hey, I was in the middle of a read-a thon. This is a 408 page piece of dirt that could've been a fascinating true crime story if about 200 pages were edited out. Repetitive, boring ( how could you manage to make this story b I will be kind and give this a 2 star rating. 2 stars because honestly the story itself ( not the one that is written in the book) is so damn horrifying....and interesting. What I really want to do is burn it. I want to burn this book. I actually wanted to DNF it so bad, but hey, I was in the middle of a read-a thon. This is a 408 page piece of dirt that could've been a fascinating true crime story if about 200 pages were edited out. Repetitive, boring ( how could you manage to make this story boring?....) and I don't skim so I read about 100 pages on bigamy that I suppose were added in as an illustration of poor character but really? who cares? The writing didn't keep me engaged AT ALL, it was so circular......just going around in circles...FOR 408 PAGES!!!!!! can't wait to send this back to the dusty library shelf that it came from. Actually, I'm going to just Wikipedia the topic and link it here to save everyone the trouble....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda_H...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Caidyn (he/him/his)

    Overall, pretty good. It was very repetitive and I wish that it had looked more at Linda Hazzard's life before and after the events at Olalla. I read this because of an episode of My Favorite Murder where Karen covered the full story of this. Super interesting and she recommended this book a few times. It was good, but didn't wow me. Overall, pretty good. It was very repetitive and I wish that it had looked more at Linda Hazzard's life before and after the events at Olalla. I read this because of an episode of My Favorite Murder where Karen covered the full story of this. Super interesting and she recommended this book a few times. It was good, but didn't wow me.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    This story is wild and I’m surprised it’s not more prominent in local lore, but the book isn’t written that well and needed a heavier-handed editor. I ended up looking up the cited newspaper articles to see the original sources.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Hill

    This review contains spoilers... Scroll down to read more! Dr. Linda Hazzard fashioned herself as a "specialist of fasting cures." What she really was, was a marketer of death and greed. She took on a facade of caring and devotion to her patients, but very few of them ever lived to tell the tale. Her mistake was targeting wealthy clients, who unbeknownst to her, left a paper trail, and also relatives who wondered where their loved ones had gone. The true deprevations of her crimes would have gone This review contains spoilers... Scroll down to read more! Dr. Linda Hazzard fashioned herself as a "specialist of fasting cures." What she really was, was a marketer of death and greed. She took on a facade of caring and devotion to her patients, but very few of them ever lived to tell the tale. Her mistake was targeting wealthy clients, who unbeknownst to her, left a paper trail, and also relatives who wondered where their loved ones had gone. The true deprevations of her crimes would have gone unnoticed had not it not been for the caring devotion of one nurse, a nurse who had given her entire life to caring and raising two sisters. Claire and Dora Williamson were wealthy middle aged spinsters who traveled the world, searching for the perfect cure. There was always something better, something newer, a possibility of regaining vitality they felt they had lost, as well as the myriad of other ailments they were convinced they suffered from. After a lengthy correspondence with Dr Hazzard, the sisters felt confident that she could cure all their problems and give them a better handle on life itself. The Doctor seemed so sure of her methods that the sisters did not doubt anything that she had to say. After meeting with a few family members, but not revealing their plans, the sisters headed toward Seattle and hope. What they encountered however, was anything but what they truly expected. Within weeks of their arrival they were hardly recognizable, their weight had shrunk so rapidly. Others around them were shocked with their appearances, and what about all the personal belongings they had brought with them? Reading through this story was shocking. The fact that anyone could be so depraved with another human beings life is despicable. Dr Hazzard used manipulation and starvation as a means to an end. She took what she could from her victims, and thought none of them would ever live long enough to stop her. In her own mind, she was stronger, better, more capable of survival and success than anyone around her. Once she made up her mind to do something, she went all the way, bar nothing. In the end, her greed was her undoing. The arrival of Margaret Conway was the rest. Had Dora died before Ms. Conway arrived, more than likely nothing would have been done. Dora's pleading, and the shocking revelations made to Ms. Conway and the girls Uncle by Dr. Hazzard proved to be part of her downfall. The rest was brought about by a Vice-Consulate of the British Empire, who worked doggedly to right a wrong he felt had to be stopped and the murderer brought to justice. The true crime genre is one that will never cease to shock, sicken, horrify, but enthrall a reader. The depravity of the human race can be manifested in a few people, but the devastation that they can incur is something that can never be forgotten. While a blind eye might be turned for a while, the truth will always find an out. While justice was never fully served during the lifetime of Ms. Dora Williamson, Gregg Olsen has outed the worst of the crime in his book. The injustice one feels while reading through the pages, almost screams for a retrial in modern times, although evidence, witnesses and time are against the case. Had forensics been what they are today during the trial, one wonders what would have truly been uncovered during the sensational trial of the "Starvation Heights" sanitarium and the unorthodox methods of its founder and "medical expert". I loved this book, hated it and wanted more all at the same time. It was hard to put down, but not one someone could consider "light reading", although the sensation of it can make you feel as though you are sitting in the courtroom listening to the testimony. This book is definitely worth a go!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lizzie

    Claire and Dorothea Williamson were rich British hypochondriacs. When they met charismatic Dr. Linda Hazzard in 1910, they were convinced her fasting cure could help them. They were desperate to go to her "sanitarium", Wilderness Heights, in Olalla, Washington, where patients fasted for days, weeks, or months on a diet of small amounts of tomato and asparagus juice and occasionally a small teaspoon of orange juice. What could possibly go wrong? While some patients survived and publicly sang her Claire and Dorothea Williamson were rich British hypochondriacs. When they met charismatic Dr. Linda Hazzard in 1910, they were convinced her fasting cure could help them. They were desperate to go to her "sanitarium", Wilderness Heights, in Olalla, Washington, where patients fasted for days, weeks, or months on a diet of small amounts of tomato and asparagus juice and occasionally a small teaspoon of orange juice. What could possibly go wrong? While some patients survived and publicly sang her praises, more than 40 patients died under her care, most from starvation. But the Williamsons didn't know that. Having started their "treatment" of small amounts of juice and osteopathic treatments that left bruises, the sisters went by ambulance to Dr. Hazzard's isolated sanitarium. They were put in separate cabins and each was told that the other was losing her mind, but that was just the effect of the toxins leaving their bodies. Continued fasting would restore them to health! Dorothea was starting to realize that maybe they'd gotten themselves into trouble. She cabled their old nurse, who was appalled when she showed up and learned that Claire had died and that Dorothea weighed less than 60 pounds. Dr. Hazzard tried to keep Dorothea from leaving, but eventually she was able to get away. It also came out that before Claire died, Dr. Hazzard had gotten her to bequeath her fortune to her, in grateful repayment for treatment. The DA didn't want to try the case because it would be too expensive, but the British Consul arranged for the Crown to pay. Dr. Hazzard was tried and convicted of manslaughter and served two years in prison. Dorothea recovered and moved to England, where she married. Wiser? I don't know. Dr. Hazzard moved to New Zealand for a while, but returned to Olalla in 1920 and once again operated the "sanitarium," even though she'd lost her medical license. Ironically, she died in 1938 while attempting a fasting cure on herself. Was Dr. Hazzard a cold blooded killer who starved patients to get their money? That's not clear. I mean, she was definitely killed people but it looked as though she was sincere about what she was doing - she believed in fasting enough to die that way. But as an old history professor of mine used to say, sincerity is one of the minor virtues. What was her hold on people? Even after the conviction she had patients who stoutly defended her. Annoyingly, the book doesn't give us many insights into Dr. Hazzard except that she was apparently very charismatic and she liked controlling people, including her husband. I was annoyed by the whole book. The interesting story is told in the most detailed, plodding way. Much of it is imagined conversations (between Dorothea and Claire at the sanitarium, for instance). Every chapter ends with an italicized paragraph of someone talking about something like how they were always scared to walk past the ruins of the old sanitarium, only without dates or who's speaking, so that you're wondering what it has to do with the narrative. It actually doesn't have anything to do with it; these are memories of people who lived in the area. I guess they're supposed to convey the creepiness of the tale. I gave up a third of the way in and skimmed the rest.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rikelle

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A fascinating true crime story. The book is very well researched and reads like a top notch crime novel. It's hard to believe the events really happened. The events take place in the early 1900's. A woman named Linda Hazzard who has no formal schooling calls herself doctor and creates a pamphlet called "Fasting for the cure of disease." Two wealthy British sisters read the pamphlet and determine that "Dr." Hazzard can cure all their health woes. The sisters become her patients are starved and on A fascinating true crime story. The book is very well researched and reads like a top notch crime novel. It's hard to believe the events really happened. The events take place in the early 1900's. A woman named Linda Hazzard who has no formal schooling calls herself doctor and creates a pamphlet called "Fasting for the cure of disease." Two wealthy British sisters read the pamphlet and determine that "Dr." Hazzard can cure all their health woes. The sisters become her patients are starved and only one sister makes it out of Dr. Hazzards twisted sanitarium alive. The dr. also takes over the money from these sisters. The Dr. is tried for murder. The dr. puts up a vigorous defense and claims she is the victim of male chauvenists. Throughout the book you wonder how people could fall for this kind of "cure." The book also goes into a great deal of detail about the Dr. but leaves you wondering did she really believe in these cures or was she an amazing conartist and why was she really afraid of the dark?? Loved it!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sonia

    So, this is the true story of two wealthy sisters with more money than sense decide to cure non-existent ills by fasting under the care of a licensed doctor with no medical training. See, in turn of the century Washington State, you could get your medical license like that. Linda Burfield Hazzard completely dominates the women until one starves herself to death. Although 14 others had died before her, Dr. Hazzard escaped liability until she guided toward the death the daughter of a wealthy famil So, this is the true story of two wealthy sisters with more money than sense decide to cure non-existent ills by fasting under the care of a licensed doctor with no medical training. See, in turn of the century Washington State, you could get your medical license like that. Linda Burfield Hazzard completely dominates the women until one starves herself to death. Although 14 others had died before her, Dr. Hazzard escaped liability until she guided toward the death the daughter of a wealthy family with a determined former nanny and deeply devoted sister. Part one is the story of the sisters. Part two is the death. And part three is the trial. Two things stopped me from giving this 5 stars. 1) wish we knew more about Sam Hazzard - for it seemed to me that as a disgraced West Point man he was very much a missed opportunity and 2) the writing wasn't always very engaging. Still, this is a story that tells itself and it was worth telling if you have the stomach for some gross details of edemas and innards.

  28. 4 out of 5

    J.H. Moncrieff

    Wow. Just wow. I can only imagine how much work it was to piece together the true story of Linda Burfield Hazzard, who killed multiple people in the early 1900's under the guise of healing them with her "fasting cure." Yep, she basically charged them good money to starve them to death while beating them during her "osteopathic massages," and once they were dead, stole everything they had left. Olsen does a masterful job on this book, as always--he's one of the few reliable, high-quality true crim Wow. Just wow. I can only imagine how much work it was to piece together the true story of Linda Burfield Hazzard, who killed multiple people in the early 1900's under the guise of healing them with her "fasting cure." Yep, she basically charged them good money to starve them to death while beating them during her "osteopathic massages," and once they were dead, stole everything they had left. Olsen does a masterful job on this book, as always--he's one of the few reliable, high-quality true crime writers out there IMO. This is one of the most disturbing books of its kind, and I was on the edge of my seat, wondering if Dora Williamson was going to be able to escape Starvation Heights before the "doctor" murdered her as well. It's truly horrifying that Hazzard was able to get away with her crimes for so long, and that even after serving time in prison for killing Dora's sister, she rose again and murdered even more people. Karma wins out in the end, though, as those who read this book will discover. Highly recommended!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Annie LaVerdure - Weller

    This is a disturbing and fabulous story that only a true Northwestern could write. Starvation Heights takes you into the cold and wet forests of the old pioneer days in Seattle and surrounds you with mystery and a feeling of panic to escape while you turn every page. In my travels I have noticed that the East of the Rockies is rich with creepy stories of betrayal, deadly ghosts and gruesome acts of human carnage. But this brilliant book brings evil and history together and makes my Northwestern h This is a disturbing and fabulous story that only a true Northwestern could write. Starvation Heights takes you into the cold and wet forests of the old pioneer days in Seattle and surrounds you with mystery and a feeling of panic to escape while you turn every page. In my travels I have noticed that the East of the Rockies is rich with creepy stories of betrayal, deadly ghosts and gruesome acts of human carnage. But this brilliant book brings evil and history together and makes my Northwestern home seem so rich and vivid with history. Olsen took a campfire story and turned it into a masterpiece of unsettling history. I wish this book was around when I was a young girl reading under my blankets with a flashlight.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Pretty good book. Well written. I will never understand the gullibility of some people. It seems that some people truly will believe any thing if they are told the right way. Tell someone you're an expert.... and they'll believe you. Not to mention in the end you realize the justice system in America was just as reliable 100 years ago as it is today. A very interesting story and a well written book. As much as I despise the so called "doctor"... it is hard to feel sorry for such ignorant people. Pretty good book. Well written. I will never understand the gullibility of some people. It seems that some people truly will believe any thing if they are told the right way. Tell someone you're an expert.... and they'll believe you. Not to mention in the end you realize the justice system in America was just as reliable 100 years ago as it is today. A very interesting story and a well written book. As much as I despise the so called "doctor"... it is hard to feel sorry for such ignorant people. If you are willing to let someone starve you to the point that you become to weak to stop them from stealing your life away.... you are a moron.

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