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Dr. Feelgood: The Story of the Doctor Who Influenced History by Treating and Drugging Prominent Figures Including President Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley

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Doctor Max Jacobson, whom the Secret Service under President John F. Kennedy code-named "Dr. Feelgood," developed a unique "energy formula" that altered the paths of some of the twentieth century's most iconic figures, including President and Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis. JFK received his first injection (a special mix of "vitamins and hormones, Doctor Max Jacobson, whom the Secret Service under President John F. Kennedy code-named "Dr. Feelgood," developed a unique "energy formula" that altered the paths of some of the twentieth century's most iconic figures, including President and Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis. JFK received his first injection (a special mix of "vitamins and hormones," according to Jacobson) just before his first debate with Vice President Richard Nixon. The shot into JFK's throat not only cured his laryngitis, but also diminished the pain in his back, allowed him to stand up straighter, and invigorated the tired candidate. Kennedy demolished Nixon in that first debate and turned a tide of skepticism about Kennedy into an audience that appreciated his energy and crispness. What JFK didn't know then was that the injections were actually powerful doses of a combination of highly addictive liquid methamphetamine and steroids.Author and researcher Rick Lertzman and New York Times bestselling author Bill Birnes reveal heretofore unpublished material about the mysterious Dr. Feelgood. Through well-researched prose and interviews with celebrities including George Clooney, Jerry Lewis, Yogi Berra, and Sid Caesar, the authors reveal Jacobson's vast influence on events such as the assassination of JFK, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedy-Khrushchev Vienna Summit, the murder of Marilyn Monroe, the filming of the C. B. DeMille classic The Ten Commandments, and the work of many of the great artists of that era. Jacobson destroyed the lives of several famous patients in the entertainment industry and accidentally killed his own wife, Nina, with an overdose of his formula.


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Doctor Max Jacobson, whom the Secret Service under President John F. Kennedy code-named "Dr. Feelgood," developed a unique "energy formula" that altered the paths of some of the twentieth century's most iconic figures, including President and Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis. JFK received his first injection (a special mix of "vitamins and hormones, Doctor Max Jacobson, whom the Secret Service under President John F. Kennedy code-named "Dr. Feelgood," developed a unique "energy formula" that altered the paths of some of the twentieth century's most iconic figures, including President and Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis. JFK received his first injection (a special mix of "vitamins and hormones," according to Jacobson) just before his first debate with Vice President Richard Nixon. The shot into JFK's throat not only cured his laryngitis, but also diminished the pain in his back, allowed him to stand up straighter, and invigorated the tired candidate. Kennedy demolished Nixon in that first debate and turned a tide of skepticism about Kennedy into an audience that appreciated his energy and crispness. What JFK didn't know then was that the injections were actually powerful doses of a combination of highly addictive liquid methamphetamine and steroids.Author and researcher Rick Lertzman and New York Times bestselling author Bill Birnes reveal heretofore unpublished material about the mysterious Dr. Feelgood. Through well-researched prose and interviews with celebrities including George Clooney, Jerry Lewis, Yogi Berra, and Sid Caesar, the authors reveal Jacobson's vast influence on events such as the assassination of JFK, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedy-Khrushchev Vienna Summit, the murder of Marilyn Monroe, the filming of the C. B. DeMille classic The Ten Commandments, and the work of many of the great artists of that era. Jacobson destroyed the lives of several famous patients in the entertainment industry and accidentally killed his own wife, Nina, with an overdose of his formula.

30 review for Dr. Feelgood: The Story of the Doctor Who Influenced History by Treating and Drugging Prominent Figures Including President Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    This is a book I picked up at the library, expecting a light yet somewhat sleazy holiday read. Instead, I got a book that had been researched obviously over a period of years; many of the interviews were of people who had either been patients or otherwise directly involved in the events, as well as close family members of those involved. Dr. Feelgood was the term that the Secret Service applied to Dr. Max Jacobson, a person who became involved with many celebrities and with the Kennedy White H This is a book I picked up at the library, expecting a light yet somewhat sleazy holiday read. Instead, I got a book that had been researched obviously over a period of years; many of the interviews were of people who had either been patients or otherwise directly involved in the events, as well as close family members of those involved. Dr. Feelgood was the term that the Secret Service applied to Dr. Max Jacobson, a person who became involved with many celebrities and with the Kennedy White House after beginning to treat John F. Kennedy for back pain and fatigue. These treatments began after JFK's former roommate introduced the then candidate for President to Jacobson; all treatments were unnofficial and secret. Notably secret were the ingredients of the shots; Jacobson told everyone they were "vitamin shots" and at one point said "vitamins and hormones." Well not really. They were actually liquid methamphetamine in a fairly large dose (30-40 mg) combined with steroids. As Jacobson's huge ring of patients discovered, they needed more and more to maintain and some wound up self-destructing. How Jacobson kept going himself is unknown as he was also a meth addict for more than 30 years. The book's strong points include a list of patients from Dr. Jacobson's records, with the ones who were personally interviewed for the book marked. The list of interviewees is extensive and lends authenticity to the claims of drug use and addiction. Footnotes also help clarify sources. Jacobson had many, many celebrity patients to whom he administered his miracle shots beyond JFK, including Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Nelson Rockefeller, Winston Churchill, Jackie Kennedy, Lee Bouvier Radziwill (interviewed), Harry S. Truman, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor (interviewed), and Frank Sinatra. When you look at the list, it is shocking to think of all of these people doing meth...especially since most didn't know what they were really getting. Further bolstering the authors' claims was the interview of the two New York Times reporters who investigated Jacobson in 1972. Jacobson, apparently well into a meth induced delusion, thought he was going to be recognized and rewarded for his work and wound up telling them everything. The background on Dr. Jacobson is fascinating, including his claim that it was his recipe for meth that the Nazis distributed in tablet form (35 million) to soldiers, sailors, and pilots of the Reich at the beginning of World War II. Jacobson was Jewish and when he fled Germany, he claimed he was forced to hand over the formula. There are some historical problems in this section, though. The authors link Kristallenacht (1938) with the Reichstag fire (1933). To link the two directly I think is faulty with the time passage between them. Also, it seems very fortuitous that Jacobson met Jung, Adler, Freud, and Albert Einstein. All in all, Jacobson's background seems so touched with celebrity as to be a product of his meth addiction and his imagination. Finally, the Kaiser was a member of the House of Hohenzollern, not Hapsburg. Where the book really falls down is the discussion of the assassination of JFK and the bullet entry and exit wounds. This, obviously, has been highly contested for years. But it just seemed that the book should not have strayed into conclusory territory about bullet exit and entry wounds as I don't believe either author, nor any contributor, is a forensic expert in this area. I think it undercut the book's authenticity in general. It is pretty clear that the CIA had motive to get rid of JFK. This book was published in 2013 but likely well before a documentary from PBS' NOVA was aired about the assassination ("Cold Case JFK," 11/13/2013). In that documentary, two forensic pathologists, a wound ballistics researcher, and a firearms expert (among others) speak to and show compelling evidence that it could indeed have only been Lee Harvey Oswald firing and using full-metal jacket bullets. The authors are definitely entitled to their opinions but that data may have been of interest. At any rate, the CIA definitely could have hired and set up Lee Harvey Oswald for just the reasons cited in this book. I just felt the foray into the argument about bullet wounds was not supported by the rest of the book. There are also a few editorial errors that were annoying that did not alter my rating of the book but that indicate that the editors let the authors down. On one page the last name of Bob Cummings' second-wife-to-be is spelled both Fong and Font; on another, the German Chancellor's last name is spelled both Adenauer and Asenauer. There are a couple of puntuation goofs, a problem with a bibliography entry, and some run-on sentences that desperately needed to be hacked apart. That may be nit-picky but what those errors do is make the book look unprofessional and the story not as believeable. This is a short but shocking slice of American history. I cannot believe that there hasn't been more press about JFK having a psychotic break at The Carlyle Hotel in New York due to methamphetamine. I do really wish that the book had lived up it's unspoken celebrity promise and had discovered other "prominent" figures such as Elizabeth Taylor, Roddy McDowell, Rex Harrison, Yul Brynner, etc who are all listed as patients. This is still a short but interesting read. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the darker part of American history.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Poppy

    I picked up this book as a part of some in-depth research I am doing for a project, which has a tertiary connection to Max Jacobson, the unscrupulous doctor of midcentury America, who seemed to prescribe injectable amphetamine to any and every celebrity who asked for it. Jacobson, of course, thought he was doing the world a service; his drugs made people feel better, and this was enough evidence for him. He touted the medicine as a treatment for Multiple Sclerosis (it is not) and a bevy of other I picked up this book as a part of some in-depth research I am doing for a project, which has a tertiary connection to Max Jacobson, the unscrupulous doctor of midcentury America, who seemed to prescribe injectable amphetamine to any and every celebrity who asked for it. Jacobson, of course, thought he was doing the world a service; his drugs made people feel better, and this was enough evidence for him. He touted the medicine as a treatment for Multiple Sclerosis (it is not) and a bevy of other complaints, serving an apparently endless stream of customers who would snaked out the door of his Manhattan office. His patients included JFK, Marilyn Monroe, Zero Mostel, Sharon Tate, Marlene Dietrich, and dozens of other recognizable names. His reach was clearly vast, and his stamp on American history is permanent. I say the above having not known too much about the man, until I read this book. The authors sedulously reported and documented their steps, footnoting as they went. While the writing is short of inspiring, the footwork is tremendous, and the tracing of every step from official sources to interviews wherever possible, inspires confidence in the writers. I would have given it four stars if that was all there was to it, but one chapter startled me in its appearance on the page: the authors suddenly proclaim that they know the real story behind the JFK assassination which, they say, was planned by a conspiracy between the CIA, LBJ, and others. While this is not an impossible theory, it is presented as fact, and here we don't get nearly the same level of assiduous documentation and resources, much less any acknowledgment that they are positing something incredibly controversial. During this chapter, I found myself stopping to ask if I still trusted the authors. I went back to look at the reputable footnotes of previous chapters, suddenly less sure I had seen them. I have certainly not fact-checked said footnotes (yet), but they do reference very valid sources, and so my proximate conclusion is that this CIA-JFK theory is simply one of the authors' blind spots about their own assumptions. Nevertheless, the book is a great source, and anyone looking to learn more about this fascinating character who undoubtedly changed the American landscape won't be disappointed.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elliot Davidson

    Very interesting information and engaging, but 2 major flaws that keep it from a higher rating. First, even though much is revealed, many potential lines of investigation are ignored completely. For instance, while Elvis is in the subtitle, he is only briefly named with no elaboration. The relationship of JFK and RFK with Marilyn Monroe is probed very superficially. The second flaw is that while many conclusions about Dr Jacobson may be valid, the authors go on to speculate and conclude well bey Very interesting information and engaging, but 2 major flaws that keep it from a higher rating. First, even though much is revealed, many potential lines of investigation are ignored completely. For instance, while Elvis is in the subtitle, he is only briefly named with no elaboration. The relationship of JFK and RFK with Marilyn Monroe is probed very superficially. The second flaw is that while many conclusions about Dr Jacobson may be valid, the authors go on to speculate and conclude well beyond the evidence given such as LBJs involvement in the Kennedy assassination. The web of connections and deceit that Dr Jacobson created and maintained with so many well known figures of the 20th century is nothing short of astonishing. It clearly shows the vulnerability of the elite to guard their veneer of power, influence and popularity. We are all susceptible to that sort of insecurity and Dr Jacobson exploited it to the fullest.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bon Tom

    Well, so it turns out history would look very different if it wasn't for drugs. Hitler, JFK... and so many other that are not even accounted for. Would it be different for good or bad though? Impossible to tell. But I have to say, all the fuss around Max Jacobson smells like bucketload of hypocrisy. He was all fine and dandy when he was needed to boost JFK to the top - JFK probably wouldn't win some elections, would screw up some meetings, would look like wet mop in some public occasions, but as Well, so it turns out history would look very different if it wasn't for drugs. Hitler, JFK... and so many other that are not even accounted for. Would it be different for good or bad though? Impossible to tell. But I have to say, all the fuss around Max Jacobson smells like bucketload of hypocrisy. He was all fine and dandy when he was needed to boost JFK to the top - JFK probably wouldn't win some elections, would screw up some meetings, would look like wet mop in some public occasions, but as soon Max was not needed any more, they cut him off. His biggest sin was unsanitary conditions in his lab and everything related to the concoctions he prepared, so there was good likelihood of infections. But how many times do regular doctors screw up. and it's nobody's fault? And Max, doctor with unorthodox approach, gets crucified just because it's obvious he's different, so why not. It's almost like they did in on purpose just as an excuse to establish DEA, which to this day probably does more in the way of boosting rate of overdose and drug-related deaths than in the way of prevention. With all objectivity, sounds like Max was just giving his patients what they wanted (and even needed in many occasions to succeed in what they did), when they wanted. I'm really not sure how's that different from opiates and oxycontin situation in US today. Or enforcing any other drug with shitload of side effects down the throat of general population, some of which are even mandatory.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    This book profiles the life of Dr. Max Jacobson - a man whose name may not ring a bell, but who may have had an enormous impact on some US History. Claiming to have developed a miraculous formula which provided not only pain relief, but allowed his patients to be able to go long periods of time without needing sleep, possess the stamina to get through stressful situations, and make them feel they were invincible. He touted the secret formula as having various ingredients, depending on who was ask This book profiles the life of Dr. Max Jacobson - a man whose name may not ring a bell, but who may have had an enormous impact on some US History. Claiming to have developed a miraculous formula which provided not only pain relief, but allowed his patients to be able to go long periods of time without needing sleep, possess the stamina to get through stressful situations, and make them feel they were invincible. He touted the secret formula as having various ingredients, depending on who was asking - anything from multiple vitamins to animal testicles or brain tissue, and anything else imaginable. What he was actually pushing was methamphetamine. A visit to his office should have set of alarm bells - it was filthy, he wore a blood-stained filthy white jacket, and his fingernails were always dirty. However, this formula brought them back again and again - some of the biggest names in politics and Hollywood fell victim to his "formula". Basically, he was a drug pusher extraordinaire. One of his biggest clients was John F. Kennedy, who relied on the injections so much that Max Jacobson was required to travel with him to important occasions, not the least of which was his meeting with Soviet leadership after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Dealing with sever back pain from his days on the PT-109, Kennedy became heavily addicted, as did Rod Serling and many, many others. One of the saddest victims was actor Bob Cummings. Many of these "patients" eventually succumbed following years of addiction which led to severe depression and other potentially fatal side effects. In the end, Dr. Jacobson fell victim to his own formula after he began using it himself. A look inside the mind of a person who is basically a pusher and a drug dealer whose name became linked with big names and who thrived on being surrounded by such well-known celebrities, this book not only exposes Jacobson's egotistical personality, but the ease of getting people who are seeking medical help addicted to a formula which needed him untold fortune. Most victims met Jacobson through recommendations of his other patients. The book includes photos of Jacobson with many well known celebrities.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Constance

    I hesitated on 4 stars. It was more 3 1/2 stars. Very easy read but packed with many details from the 60s which I appreciated. There seemed to be a bit of repetition within chapters. However the chapter on JFK's tragic day in Dallas was very enlightening. There was a lot of research prior to writing the book and I commend Mr. Lertzman for that effort. So many well known names were found somewhat surprising. I enjoyed reading it and it does make one stop and think about what was actually happening I hesitated on 4 stars. It was more 3 1/2 stars. Very easy read but packed with many details from the 60s which I appreciated. There seemed to be a bit of repetition within chapters. However the chapter on JFK's tragic day in Dallas was very enlightening. There was a lot of research prior to writing the book and I commend Mr. Lertzman for that effort. So many well known names were found somewhat surprising. I enjoyed reading it and it does make one stop and think about what was actually happening in history during Dr. Feelgood's heyday. The correlation of Hitler's physician Dr. Theodore Morell and Max Jacobson was very interesting. Also learning there were other amphetamine doctors practicing namely Dr. Robert Freymann who also escaped Nazi Germany along with Jacobson makes you wonder if it was really about medicine or power for these two men. I recommend this book if you are somewhat of a history buff, celebrity crazed, or just interested in addiction.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I found the book to be interesting and a quick read, but it also seemed superficial and filled with gossip, speculations, and unsupported conclusions. It also seemed to be a summary of Oliver Stone's JFK with drugs thrown into the mix.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Interesting subject matter, but very poorly written and edited. Read like a series of magazine articles strung together.

  9. 5 out of 5

    juicy brained intellectual

    "Jacobson believed that his methamphetamine injections could help heroin addicts free themselves from the drug. Unfortunately, that freedom came at the expense of addiction to meth." screaming at whoever listed the "characters" for this book... goodreads users are CLINICALLY INSANE! i'm so happy for them!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    This book is wonderful! Incredible pictures of President Kennedy getting a meth injection! This book will Change History! I recommend this book with Five Big Stars! I love historical biographies. "Dr. Feelgood" has shook me to the core. This incredible book details how one doctor in New York City, Dr. Max Jacobson, drugged our President (Kennedy) while he was making major decisions such as the Vienna Summit, the Cuban Missle Crisis, the Bay of Pigs . Kennedy was a meth addict.I read facts I nev This book is wonderful! Incredible pictures of President Kennedy getting a meth injection! This book will Change History! I recommend this book with Five Big Stars! I love historical biographies. "Dr. Feelgood" has shook me to the core. This incredible book details how one doctor in New York City, Dr. Max Jacobson, drugged our President (Kennedy) while he was making major decisions such as the Vienna Summit, the Cuban Missle Crisis, the Bay of Pigs . Kennedy was a meth addict.I read facts I never even had heard of (I'm a huge fan of Kennedy conspiracy books) such as JFK , as our President running naked through the halls of the Carlyle Hotel while high on meth while the secret service tried to catch him. Secret Service agent Paul Landis called Jacobson "Dr. Frankenstein. JFK on LSD was a real eye opener. The stories about Dr. Jacobson possibly killing Marilyn Monroe were terrific. There is a list of over 200 celebrity patients which included Elizabeth Taylor, Johnny Mathis, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, President Harry S. Truman ,J. Edgar Hoover, Richard M. Nixon, Rod Serling,President John F. Kennedy ,Jacqueline Kennedy, Sir Winston Churchill, Prince and Lee Radziwill, Cecil B DeMille , Marlene Dietrich, Elizabeth Taylor,Eddie Fisher, Truman Capote, Bette Davis, Mike Nichols,Burt Bacharach, Frank Sinatra, Tennessee Williams, Paul Lynde, Alan Jay Lerner, Howard Cosell ,Henry & June Miller,Andy Warhol, Yul Brynner,Johnny Mathis,, Rosemary Clooney, Nelson Rockefeller, Marilyn Monroe, Edward G. Robinson,Billy Wilder, Cary Grant, Bob Cummings,Van Cliburn,Sam “MoMo” Giancanna, Mickey Mantle, Leonard Bernstein, Ingrid Bergman, Tony Curtis, Richard Burton, Andy Williams, Anthony Quinn, and countless others who Max Jacobson injected with his methamphetamine cocktail. Don't miss this book that will shock you and change history. "Dr. Feelgood" is a classic, must have book for all readers. The exclusive pictures of JFK getting injections are amazing! Diana McGarvey Canton, Ohio

  11. 4 out of 5

    Eduard

    Revealing book about a different era before the Controlled Substances Act when a doctor (and he wasn't the only one I'm sure) who was the personal "Dr. Feelgood" physician for JFK and many other luminaries. In that era barbituates were prescribed in a freewheeling way. This guy concocted his own drug cocktails with a lot of methamphetamines. Even an episode of "Mad Men" had a Dr. Feelgood come to the office and gave everyone "Vitamin B-12" shots (with a little mixture). It's been revealed Hitler Revealing book about a different era before the Controlled Substances Act when a doctor (and he wasn't the only one I'm sure) who was the personal "Dr. Feelgood" physician for JFK and many other luminaries. In that era barbituates were prescribed in a freewheeling way. This guy concocted his own drug cocktails with a lot of methamphetamines. Even an episode of "Mad Men" had a Dr. Feelgood come to the office and gave everyone "Vitamin B-12" shots (with a little mixture). It's been revealed Hitler was taking methamphetamines, well guess what? so was beloved JFK who arguably was an addict. People think they're clever claiming Hitler was on dope well look no further than JFK whose drug dependency potentially could have been an embarrassment. Who knows? It could have led to the conspiracy behind his assasination. Hugh Hefner (not mentioned in the book) readily admits he took "dexadrine" for marathon work sessions. I'm sure nobody was aware of the side effects of the drugs then and the magical injections seemed to be the fountain of youth. Insightful look into a 'slightly' different era and the way things work behind some important scenes.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carole P. Roman

    Pretty scary expose on the doctor who pushed drugs on people in the highest places in government. It's no secret that drugs have infested the entertainment industries, why not politics? How much did the population even know about the drug lifestyle back in the sixties? We hadn't lost our innocence yet. I don't know how much of the facts are proven, but it was a compelling and an oddly believable read. Watching Michael Jackson's, Elvis's or Marilyn Monroe's public drug disasters, it raises the qu Pretty scary expose on the doctor who pushed drugs on people in the highest places in government. It's no secret that drugs have infested the entertainment industries, why not politics? How much did the population even know about the drug lifestyle back in the sixties? We hadn't lost our innocence yet. I don't know how much of the facts are proven, but it was a compelling and an oddly believable read. Watching Michael Jackson's, Elvis's or Marilyn Monroe's public drug disasters, it raises the question- was the idea of a trusted doctor on retainer disguising opiates as vitamins so unbelievable? Even more compelling was the suggestion that Kennedy's obsessive sex drive and political "brinkmanship" style can be placed at the doctors door based on the vials of drugs he was given. Read the book for yourself and consider the final suggestion- I will not give it away. It makes for some interesting reading.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carole P. Roman

    Pretty scary expose on the doctor who pushed drugs on people in the highest places in government. It's no secret that drugs have infested the entertainment industries, why not politics. How much did the population even know about the drug lifestyle back in the sixties? We hadn't lost our innocence yet. I don't know how much of the facts are proven, but it was a compelling and an oddly believable read. Watching Michael Jackson's , Elvis's or Marilyn Monroe's public drug disasters, it raises the q Pretty scary expose on the doctor who pushed drugs on people in the highest places in government. It's no secret that drugs have infested the entertainment industries, why not politics. How much did the population even know about the drug lifestyle back in the sixties? We hadn't lost our innocence yet. I don't know how much of the facts are proven, but it was a compelling and an oddly believable read. Watching Michael Jackson's , Elvis's or Marilyn Monroe's public drug disasters, it raises the question- was the idea of a trusted doctor on retainer disguising opiates as vitamins so unbelievable? Even more compelling was the suggestion that Kennedy's obsessive sex drive and political "brinkmanship" style can be placed at the doctors door based on the vials of drugs he was given. Read the book for yourself and consider the final suggestion- I will not give it away. It makes for some interesting reading.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sean Halpin

    A very interesting story but filled with too much gossipy conjecture to receive more than three stars. Max Jacobson, aka Miracle Max, aka Dr. Feelgood, was a meth dealer to the stars. That in itself could make for a interesting story. Jacobson lured powerful figures into addiction, and thus reliance on his concoctions. But the author takes it a step further when he makes wild accusations about JFK's assassination (pages are devoted to where a bullet entered JFK's head), whether Marilyn Monroe wa A very interesting story but filled with too much gossipy conjecture to receive more than three stars. Max Jacobson, aka Miracle Max, aka Dr. Feelgood, was a meth dealer to the stars. That in itself could make for a interesting story. Jacobson lured powerful figures into addiction, and thus reliance on his concoctions. But the author takes it a step further when he makes wild accusations about JFK's assassination (pages are devoted to where a bullet entered JFK's head), whether Marilyn Monroe was murdered because she might have known too many classified secrets... Also the Spanish flu took place from 1918-1919...not 1917 as the author reported. There are several places where this book seems sloppily arranged--causing concern for how accurate the reporting is.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tim Jin

    I really had high hopes for "Dr. Feelgood" and how Max Jacobson discovered methamphetamine and was the doctor to JFK, but it became a tabloid article that you would find at a grocery store. The cover up on JFK assassination and how he was high at the time is just too far fetch to believe. Yet another conspiracy theory on this tragic event. I don't doubt that the president had a problem with drugs and Dr. Jacobson was the pusher, but this book is total garbage. It was written in a way to shock yo I really had high hopes for "Dr. Feelgood" and how Max Jacobson discovered methamphetamine and was the doctor to JFK, but it became a tabloid article that you would find at a grocery store. The cover up on JFK assassination and how he was high at the time is just too far fetch to believe. Yet another conspiracy theory on this tragic event. I don't doubt that the president had a problem with drugs and Dr. Jacobson was the pusher, but this book is total garbage. It was written in a way to shock you rather than inform you. Jacobson was the dealer to the Stars and the White House and also a heavy user of his own product.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Farrell

    The book is a bit unnerving since it details how many people in the entertainment and political fields were under the sway of this amphetamine-dispensing physician. If we can believe everything here (and he does support it with references), JFK was incredibly addicted to these shots and JFK, Jr. blamed his mother's illness and ultimate death on the shots she received. Dark references, too, to the death of Marilyn Monroe and JFK as it relates to the CIA and their increasing concerns about both of The book is a bit unnerving since it details how many people in the entertainment and political fields were under the sway of this amphetamine-dispensing physician. If we can believe everything here (and he does support it with references), JFK was incredibly addicted to these shots and JFK, Jr. blamed his mother's illness and ultimate death on the shots she received. Dark references, too, to the death of Marilyn Monroe and JFK as it relates to the CIA and their increasing concerns about both of them vis-à-vis national security.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    A real page turner of a book. The title of Chapter 10 should be changed from, "Dallas" to "Mind Blowing". Also MLB has a problem with PEDs today but Mickey Mantle was ahead of the game. Amazing how many famous people were in the "care of" Dr. Max Jacobson and his "magic shot." It is interesting to think how many high profile deaths this man caused and how, as the author points out, history might of changed, for better or worse we'll never know, because of one person.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Fishface

    A name-dropping spectacular of a book, listing dozens of celebrities whose lives were enhanced, ruined, or ended by the "vitamin shots" of a doctor the FBI code-named "Dr. Feelgood." Makes some audacious claims about where this man's activities led the nation, including some I find very hard to believe...but it sure is food for thought. If you wonder why the Controlled Substances Act and the DEA exist, read this book. Even if you don't believe a word of it you won't be sorry.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Focuses on the purported relationship with JFK. Posits a successful conspiracy to assassinate JFK, led by the CIA due to the president's drug addiction. I don't really buy into the premise.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dee brown

    This was fascinating. One of the few books too hard to put down.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Steve Carter

    I’ve have an interest for awhile on how the drugging that is so often involved with people who manage to drive themselves to the top of our culture. This little book tells the story of Max Jacobson the most famous of the methamphetamine doctors of the 1950s to mid-1970s when he was finally exposed and kicked out of the medical business. The drugs in the amphetamine family were discovered early in the 20th century. They are behind a great deal of what went on in the 30s through 70s. The drugs wer I’ve have an interest for awhile on how the drugging that is so often involved with people who manage to drive themselves to the top of our culture. This little book tells the story of Max Jacobson the most famous of the methamphetamine doctors of the 1950s to mid-1970s when he was finally exposed and kicked out of the medical business. The drugs in the amphetamine family were discovered early in the 20th century. They are behind a great deal of what went on in the 30s through 70s. The drugs were given to combatants in both sides during WWII. They have the power to push people beyond normal human limits. They stimulate concousiness in way that makes people feels super, invulnerable, and able to go without food and sleep. They were perfect for Hitler’s Master Race. They were consumed by the “Great Leaders” too. Hitler had a doctor who regularly injected him and as this book suggests, lead him to overestimate his troops, such as the insane blunder of taking on the Soviet Union, a move that lead, ultimately, the The USSR defeating Germany. The drugs were all over the entertainment industry too. They were notoriously given to the Hollywood workers, the stars, to keep them thin and on the set for countless hours churning out the now beloved classics. Judy Garland is a very familiar example of this, a kid abused in this way that ultimately lead to her death at age 47. She was far from alone in this. Much of the radio drama industry was wired on bennies, Benzedrine, which was readily available and fueled writers as well as actors. Orson Welles was young, but still wired to keep up his schedule of radio and theater productions going on at the same time. This is the period where he famously hired an ambulance to get him quickly from one gig to the next. Factory workers on swing shifts would also use them. I took a couple “diet pills” “Black Beauties”, black capsules, in my youth. Powerful scary stuff that I was wise enough not to indulge in too much. I got interested in Max Jacobson after watching the new documentary about Hedy Lamarr. She was one of his many celebrity patient/victims, as well at being encouraged to pill pop during her 1940s Hollywood heyday. This book is loaded with stories of other showbiz clients. I was surprised at the story of Robert Cummings. I remember him around 1960 when he wrote a book called “Stay Young and Vital”. I was a kid back then but I remember an article in TV GUIDE about him, the health nut, and his book. I took him as an example of what I would like to do, and I did get interested in healthy food and supplements. It turns out that by 1960 he was already deep into methanphedimine addiction from the injections by Jacobson who was NYC based and Jacobson's son who was a doctor in LA who provided the speed. Cummings acting career was totally ruined by his addiction and he had a very sad end some 30 years into it. It is one of the more tragic stories of Dr. Feelgood's many famous patients. He was introduced to the doctor through friends Rosemary Clooney and Mel Ferrer. Another interesting story it that of C B deMille, another patient who used Jacobson’s speed to get him through the production and promotion of his epic The Ten Commandments. There is a lot of stuff in the book about President Kennedy’s relationship with the doctor and his drugs. There is a report of a psychotic episode the JFK had after an injection and speculation as to what would have happened to Kennedy had he lived and kept up with speed which was rather likely given the health issues he had. Some readers might be skeptical as the book suggests that the conspiracy that murdered JFK had something to do with stopping him and his drug taking. The drugged up hyped up self stimulation is, I believe very much a part of the culture we live in. So many of the works and the famous have roots in drugs such as speed and cocaine that drove them to their accomplishments. For example what would David Bowie have been if not for the massive amount of cocaine he consumed during his most productive and beloved period? I would like to see a book that is a real study of the drug driven fame phenomenon. This Dr Feelgood, is a slight, brief, popular book work, somewhat explorative and sensational, and certainly not up to that task although it deals somewhat with the territory.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bill reilly

    Dr. Feelgood was Max Jacobson, a Jewish refugee from Germany who established a medical practice on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in the 1930’s. The client list was an array of the rich and famous. The book begins in 1960 with a young senator running for president. JFK suffered from severe back pain. A WWII PT boat accident was the cause. Jack’s good friend and family photographer, Mark Shaw, had recommended the “miracle doctor.” The source of that magic was methamphetamine. Another patient, Truman Dr. Feelgood was Max Jacobson, a Jewish refugee from Germany who established a medical practice on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in the 1930’s. The client list was an array of the rich and famous. The book begins in 1960 with a young senator running for president. JFK suffered from severe back pain. A WWII PT boat accident was the cause. Jack’s good friend and family photographer, Mark Shaw, had recommended the “miracle doctor.” The source of that magic was methamphetamine. Another patient, Truman Capote, described a feeling of instant euphoria which lasted for 72 hours. A crash was next, and more visits to the good doctor. JFK was given a shot only hours before his TV debate with Richard Nixon. No wonder the audience believed that Kennedy looked more youthful and energetic than Tricky Dicky. He was wired. Dr. Jacobson earned his medical degree in Berlin and fled the brown shirts in 1932. Prague was his first stop, and Paris was next. Four years later, Max made it to New York and set up an office on East 72nd Street. The practice grew quickly. Patients were given shots of amphetamine mixed with vitamins and steroids. Benzedrine became available over the counter in pill form in the 1940’s. On the set of The Ten Commandments, Moses (Charlton Heston), received the tablets while high as a kite. The director, Cecille B DeMille, was also stoned. Tennessee Williams, Paddy Chayevsky, and Rod Serling were among Dr. Feelgoods patients. Bob Cummings might be the most tragic story in the book. Bob was a major TV and movie star in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Dr. Jacobson’s treatments eventually changed the mild mannered star into a raving lunatic. Cummings was banned from Hollywood due to his erratic behavior on set. In 1961, Khrushchev had a meeting in Vienna with JFK. Dr. Jacobson injected the president three times on the day of the summit. The KGB raided the doctor’s NYC office and he suspected that the Russians had his patients’ records. The Soviets were aware of Kennedy’s amphetamine problem years before the American press. NY Yankees announcer Mel Allen introduced Mickey Mantle to Dr Feelgood. The Mick was in constant pain from a torn ACL. Besides cortisone and amphetamine, the authors suspect that Mantle was given steroids which prolonged the slugger’s career for another eight years. Marilyn Monroe sang “Happy Birthday” to the president shortly after a shot from Dr. Max. Her death remains a mystery. 11/23/63 is also analyzed and I concur with the CIA conspiracy conclusion. The doctor’s license was revoked in 1975. An investigation found that over 1,900 needles and syringes were used per week. Patients were also shooting themselves up at home. Jacobson died in 1979 in obscurity.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Strong Extraordinary Dreams

    OK, it's great fun, backroom, backstage insights, culturally laden Drugs & Fame. The drug stories are odd, but what is going on in the author's mind is every odd-er: * he, the author, Richard A Lertzman, tries repeatedly to justify JFK's assassination so that (get this) the vile Lyndon B Johnson "could implement his social program" by which he means Johnson's "Great Society", which he never could or did implement because he was to busy murdering Vietnamese and Americans in Vietnam - until his own OK, it's great fun, backroom, backstage insights, culturally laden Drugs & Fame. The drug stories are odd, but what is going on in the author's mind is every odd-er: * he, the author, Richard A Lertzman, tries repeatedly to justify JFK's assassination so that (get this) the vile Lyndon B Johnson "could implement his social program" by which he means Johnson's "Great Society", which he never could or did implement because he was to busy murdering Vietnamese and Americans in Vietnam - until his own son went over, and then he started to try to stop the Vietnam war. Anyway, as we can all see: no great society. * he, the author, criticizes JFK's attempts to leave Vietnam (we now know that JFK made no real attempt to leave Vietnam) because it would deny the US access to a Vietnamese deep-water port. * failed completely to develop the character of Jacobson (Dr Feelgood) at all, despite this being Jacobson's biography. A very flawed book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Trebor

    How often does one read a book that blasts open ones eyes to see something totally unthinkable. Well, for me this was such a book. I'm not going to give a synopsis of the contents as the title gives one the general gist of the contents. Sometimes the hypocrisy of the world we live in and the people who claim to be our leaders and others we respected can be so beyond any boundaries that its hard to fathom. The lesson to be learned is all people despite their strata in life have the same foibles, How often does one read a book that blasts open ones eyes to see something totally unthinkable. Well, for me this was such a book. I'm not going to give a synopsis of the contents as the title gives one the general gist of the contents. Sometimes the hypocrisy of the world we live in and the people who claim to be our leaders and others we respected can be so beyond any boundaries that its hard to fathom. The lesson to be learned is all people despite their strata in life have the same foibles, character flaws and weaknesses as any of the least of our brethren. Never judge or be judged because we are all equally flawed. From the POTUS to the homeless whino on the street. From the most famous movie stars, heroic sports stars, to the medical profession, all equally corruptible and addicted.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is absolutely one hundred percent jaw dropping. I was basically just informed for the past 48 hours on how our country was run my a meth addled president for a little while. Call it being innocent but I truly was floored by the serious drug history our country and some of its great shining stars suffered from. It’s kind of heart breaking knowing that these stars were being misguided by some charlatan acting as a healer. It’s is comforting to know this all got brought to its knees and M This book is absolutely one hundred percent jaw dropping. I was basically just informed for the past 48 hours on how our country was run my a meth addled president for a little while. Call it being innocent but I truly was floored by the serious drug history our country and some of its great shining stars suffered from. It’s kind of heart breaking knowing that these stars were being misguided by some charlatan acting as a healer. It’s is comforting to know this all got brought to its knees and Max was stripped of his medical license. But I will say I feel like he definitely belonged behind bars.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Janani Kalpathi

    The story of this mad genius doc Max Jacobson turns out to be a story of how one man dispensing powerful methamphetamines not only changed the course of US presidential history, but also wound up creating what amounted to nothing less than a subculture of celebrity addicts. Intriguing 'behind the scenes' dark stop in the page of history on how a president such as JFK was a meth addict making some of the most powerful decisions for the country including a powerful glimpse of WWI and WWII. This bo The story of this mad genius doc Max Jacobson turns out to be a story of how one man dispensing powerful methamphetamines not only changed the course of US presidential history, but also wound up creating what amounted to nothing less than a subculture of celebrity addicts. Intriguing 'behind the scenes' dark stop in the page of history on how a president such as JFK was a meth addict making some of the most powerful decisions for the country including a powerful glimpse of WWI and WWII. This book has changed my perception of noted personalities and celebs - I can't believe anything I see as is anymore.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alice Yoder

    He was scary, they were weak. The book describes Dr. Jacobson as a sociopathic narcissus and I would totally agree. There were so many red flags that what he was doing was wrong. That so many prominent people got caught in his web is unbelievable. That he himself got caught in that web is beyond comprehension. The conspiracy theorists will love the part about the JFK assassination and subsequent cover-up, participants, etc.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    An interesting look at the beginnings of the current opioid crisis and drug addiction in the United States, focusing primarily on the story of JFK's addiction. There are some interesting theories presented at the end regarding possible motives for a political assassination, although I felt like the end of the book presented information in disappointingly less detail than other portions of the book. Overall an easy-reading piece of non-fiction.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    It was definitely an interesting read (and easy to get through). But definitely a little too 'conspiracy theory' for me. A lot of details that I was curious to know (more details about his wife Nina, where he was purchasing all of this meth and various ingredients like human placenta, etc.) were not answered, so it was a little disappointing. Will probably prompt me to do my own research though, so all in all not a wasted read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Haylee

    Didn’t love this book. Someone who lived through the 50s-60s era may have found it more interesting but I didn’t know most of the celebrities they were talking about, aside from Marilyn Monroe and JFK of course. And their storylines just seemed highly speculative to me. But I also made the mistake of reading this book right after reading a book on Hitler and his drug doctor (Blitzed by Norman Ohler- soo good, highly recommend) so this book just paled in comparison.

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