Take the plunge with these tempting new books.
2 of 3
The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: How a Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies
304 pages; Blue Rider Press
Available at:Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | IndieBound
In 1939, a young woman came to the World of Tomorrow, New York's World's Fair, to meet Dr. Martin Couney. The two had already crossed paths 19 years earlier. "I'm a baby of yours," she told him. As an infant, she'd been delivered to Couney's incubator sideshow, hopelessly underweight. Now, she was a healthy woman studying to become a nurse—and her success story was one of many for Couney. With his incubators and painstaking care, before countless audiences at world's fairs, Coney Island and Atlantic City, Couney is estimated to have saved between 6,500 and 7,000 babies over his long career. Raffel's sprawling history tells the story of the Jewish immigrant, née Cohn, a showman who would reinvent himself as the good "doctor," with the slogan "All the world loves a baby." Some of the crowd-pleasing antics were unseemly—nurses would slide a diamond ring up an infant's arm for scale—but for most parents, it was their only option. One of his tiniest rescues weighed between 1 1/2 and 2 pounds at birth (the hospital doctors, assuming her too weak to live, hadn't bothered with precise measurements). Couney told a reporter, "I think I love her as much as her parent."
— Julia Pierpont