Thoughts on a Book: ‘The Road to Wellville’

BattleCreekSanitorium - photo
Patients at “The San” do breathing exercises. Circa 1900. Public domain, Wikimedia Commons.

I recently finished an interesting novel, “The Road to Wellville,” by T. Coraghessan Boyle. It’s a quirky little book about Dr. John Harvey Kellogg’s sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan.

While fictional, it does give you a good idea of some of the crazy things people will do — and have done to them — in the name of good health, or “biologic living” as Dr. Kellogg called it.

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Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, Library of Congress photo.

Around the turn of the 20th century, the rich and ailing flocked to the Battle Creek Sanitarium — also known as “The San” — for daily enemas and all sorts of therapies. Patients maintained a meatless diet, with no coffee or tea. Coffee was said to cause liver disease and diabetes, and tea, mental illness.

Dr. Kellogg, father to 40-some foster or adopted children, also thought sex — even with one’s spouse  — was harmful and should be avoided.

As a happily married coffee addict who likes a good hamburger now and then, I don’t think I would have enjoyed “The San” one bit.

The book was pretty good, however, and I recommend it.

 

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2 thoughts on “Thoughts on a Book: ‘The Road to Wellville’

  1. Did you where they found “buried deep in the microfiche” Walt Whitman’s 47,000 word treatise on healthy living/ Apparently he followed the paleo diet!

    Liked by 1 person

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