Dr. Feelgood: The Shocking Story of the Doctor Who May Have Changed History by Treating and Drugging JFK, Marilyn, Elvis, and Other Prominent Figures

Dr. Feelgood: The Shocking Story of the Doctor Who May Have Changed History by Treating and Drugging JFK, Marilyn, Elvis, and Other Prominent Figures

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by Richard A. Lertzman, William J. Birnes

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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


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Author and researcher Rick Lertzman and New York Times bestselling author Bill Birnes reveal heretofore unpublished material about the mysterious Dr.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.

Skyhorse Publishing, along with our Arcade, Good Books, Sports Publishing, and Yucca imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. Our list includes biographies on well-known historical figures like Benjamin Franklin, Nelson Mandela, and Alexander Graham Bell, as well as villains from history, such as Heinrich Himmler, John Wayne Gacy, and O. J. Simpson. We have also published survivor stories of World War II, memoirs about overcoming adversity, first-hand tales of adventure, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
JFK, his rogue doctor and the conspiracy to kill a meth-addicted president. Lertzman and Birnes (The Everything UFO Book, 2012, etc.) attempt an exposé about Dr. Max Jacobson, aka Dr. Feelgood, who treated a host of famous patients from JFK to Truman Capote. His treatments, or "vitamin shots," were primarily made up of amphetamines with the addition of often-experimental ingredients like animal hormones. The authors focus on the relationship between JFK and Jacobson, claiming that Jacobson traveled regularly with the president, was often summoned to the White House and was even asked by Kennedy to move in. Using personal interviews with several people once close to the doctor and his patients, as well as quoting from previous books on the subject, the authors spin a tale of widespread drug addiction at the hands of Jacobson. They describe some notable incidents that occurred while Kennedy was in a meth-induced state, including his debate with Nixon, his meeting Khrushchev at the Vienna Summit in 1961 and, eventually, an overdose at the Carlyle Hotel during which the president had to be subdued. The book strays at times from the Kennedy story to describe Jacobson's treatment of patients like Marilyn Monroe, actor Robert Cummings and Cecil B. DeMille, with whom Jacobson traveled extensively. As the authors admit, there have been many books written about Jacobson and his connection to the rich and famous. It's hard to tell what sets this one apart, although Lertzman and Birnes do offer a lengthy aside detailing the doctor's upbringing, medical training and emigration to the United States after the Holocaust. Perhaps most interesting is the ending, where the authors assert that Jacobson was indirectly responsible for JFK's death. The president's growing amphetamine addiction, they claim, was seen by the CIA as a serious threat to national security. The book concludes with a rehashing of familiar conspiracy theories regarding the Warren Commission. A thin, mostly secondhand portrait of a misguided doctor and the harm he caused his famous clientele.

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Skyhorse Publishing
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5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Richard A. Lertzman is the former editor and Publisher of Screen Scene Magazine and is currently a director of an Internet television network. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

William J. Birnes is an editor, publisher, literary agent, and television producer. He’s also a New York Times bestselling author and a guest host on several network television series. He lives in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

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Dr. Feelgood: The Shocking Story of the Doctor Who May Have Changed History by Treating and Drugging JFK, Marilyn, Elvis, and Other Prominent Figures 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
DianaMcGarvey More than 1 year ago
Diana McGarvey I have had the pleasure of reading the Advanced Reading Copy(ARC) , this book is simply AMAZING!!!! I felt transported back in time to when Max was a little boy, thru the years under the wrath of Hitler, to his struggle of wanting to belong with the BEAUTIFUL people. If he wasn't such an evil vile man, you would almost feel sorry for him. The attention to detail, of the facts, based on actual interviews is astouding. The pictures alone are enthralling and leave you kinda speehless. It makes you really wonder how our country was influenced by this man injecting JFK with mind altering drugs. Each and every detail has been researched and carefully researched again and again. Rick and Bill have truely made us rethink history!!! GREAT JOB
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story will blow your mind. Think about the most powerful and influencial people in the world getting shot up by a doctor with mind altering drugs. It's a trip! I couldn't put the book down.
Readitreaditreadit More than 1 year ago
This book is nothing more than a conspiracy theorist's yarn. While Dr. Jacobson probably did treat those folks mentioned in this story I find it difficult to believe that JFK's treatments had anything to do with the Cuban missile crisis or the Cold War in general. The author attempts to connect puzzle pieces that just don't fit. Furthermore, the author discredits himself by making these inane conjectures and suppositions. If you're looking for a book with some historical value, this is not the book. I wish I could get my money back.
PeteHendricks More than 1 year ago
Dr. Feelgood is a non-fiction book that takes place in the 1950's and 1960's.  It is about a mad scientist who treats many famous people such as, John F. Kennedy.  He created an "energy supplement" for his patients to relieve stress and anxiety.  Little did his patients know, he was actually injecting them with harmful amphetamines.  This book has a lot of important messages and themes.  One being,  get to know your doctor before getting medical procedures done on you.  Max Jacobson (Dr. Feelgood), changed the lives of many significant figures due to his injections.  I liked how in depth this book went.  It gave specifics, and talked to many people who were close to Jacobson.  If I could change something about this book, it would be to keep the reader interested.  A couple times, the author went a little too in depth and lost my interest, but overall I really liked the book.  I think this is the perfect story to make into a movie.  It's a true story and is very interesting how a doctor was able to drug the president of the Untied States.  I think that this book could be useful for school curriculum, because it shows a unique writing style and in some way shaped what the U.S. is today.  Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would give it a rating of a 4.  
Anonymous 5 months ago
Some have said that this is just conspiracy theory, and yes, it does contain a fair amount of speculation, but it also offers a well-researched look into Dr. Max Jacobson (Dr. MJ) and those whom he treated. With a varied bibliography, and footnotes throughout, the authors share their sources; and when theories are presented, the authors are sharing their thoughts of what the information could suggest--and not suggesting those theories to be historical fact. It is up to the reader to use critical thinking and form your own opinion--and this book certainly gives you plenty to think about! For example, the idea that for every action there is a reaction. In this way, Dr. MJ's treatment of JFK during his campaign for the presidency could have led to his winning the election, which would have led to his need for more of Dr. MJ's treatments, and each of the incidents mentioned in the book. This is a theory we have probably all used at times for our own lives, likely with positive and negative spins [like this: 'If I wouldn't have put off taking that government class until my last semester, I would never have met the man who is now my husband!;' or, 'If only I had just stayed home that night, I would't have been in the car accident, and I would still have my car, and I wouldn't have lost my job, and I wouldn't have had my house foreclosed on...']. This theory can apply to anything really, and can make perfect sense, but there also comes a point when it becomes ridiculous, because that trace-back to prior events is actually never-ending. My only complaint is that the authors do often present a biased view of the Dr.--a stigmatized perspective that he is a bad man with bad intentions (after all, he is a drug addict and a drug pusher, so he must be bad, right?). I especially find this to be stigmatized because the actual research they provide about Max's life, including a quote from someone close to him, and the norms of the times, do not back up the negative presentation placed on him throughout the book. We cannot know what Dr. Max was thinking, but there is more to suggest that he wanted to help his patients--and believed this was what he was doing--than to suggest, as the authors do, that what he really wanted was to control his patients. Additionally, at the time when he was practicing, his treatments were not illegal. This is according to the authors; yet, they paint him in a negative light that seems unfair. Definitely worth reading, considering, and coming to your own conclusions about.
PrepH More than 1 year ago
This is the second book I read by Richard Lertzman & William Birnes and I have nothing but great things to say about their writing. I learned things about JFK and Bob Cummings that I had no idea about. Their hypothesis into how JFK died makes a whole lot of sense. Thank you for another very easy read.