Friday, August 3, 2018

Friday Freebie: The Strange Case of Dr. Couney by Dawn Raffel

Congratulations to Nancy Moore, winner of last week’s Friday Freebie: a bundle of John Straley’s mystery novels set in Alaska, including the latest entry in the Cecil Younger series, Baby’s First Felony.

This week’s giveaway is The Strange Case of Dr. Couney by Dawn Raffel. It’s the extraordinary tale of how a mysterious immigrant “doctor” became the revolutionary innovator of saving premature babiesby placing them in incubators in World’s Fair side shows and on Coney Island and Atlantic City. Keep scrolling for more information on the book and how to enter the contest. And, in case you missed it earlier here at the blog, be sure to read Dawn's account of how she researched the book: The First Time I Dug Up History.

What kind of doctor puts his patients on display? As Dawn Raffel artfully recounts, Dr. Couney figured out he could use incubators and careful nursing to keep previously doomed infants alive, and at the same time make good money displaying these babies alongside sword swallowers, bearded ladies, and burlesque shows. How this turn-of-the-twentieth-century émigré became the savior to families with premature infants, known then as “weaklings”while ignoring the scorn of the medical establishment and fighting the climate of eugenicsis one of the most astounding stories of modern medicine. And as readers will find, Dr. Couney, for all his opportunistic entrepreneurial gusto, is a surprisingly appealing character, someone who genuinely cared for the well-being of his tiny patients. But he had something to hide. Drawing on historical documents, original reportage, and interviews with surviving patients, acclaimed journalist and magazine editor Dawn Raffel tells the marvelously eccentric story of Couney’s mysterious carnival career, his larger-than-life personality, and his unprecedented success as the savior of tiny babies.

If you’d like a chance at winning The Strange Case of Dr. Couney, simply email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line. Please include your mailing address in the body of the e-mail. One entry per person, please. Despite its name, the Friday Freebie remains open to entries until midnight on Aug. 9, at which time I’ll draw the winning name. I’ll announce the lucky reader on Aug. 10. If you’d like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words “Sign me up for the newsletter” in the body of your email. Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning? Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter. Once you’ve done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying “I’ve shared” and I’ll put your name in the hat twice.

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