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The Doctor Who Fooled the World

Science, Deception, and the War on Vaccines

In February 1998, a then-unknown British doctor, Andrew Wakefield, published a scientific paper in a top medical journal, The Lancet, that struck at the peace of young families everywhere. Researching twelve developmentally challenged children, he claimed to have found evidence that the lifesaving three-in-one vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella, MMR, caused a frightening "new syndrome" of autism and bowel disease. Parents were terrified, vaccination rates plummeted, and Wakefield emerged as a charismatic crusader, exporting epidemics of fear, guilt, and infectious disease to the United States and then the world. Turning his attention to all vaccines, he now leads a campaign against immunization with tens of thousands of supporters.

In The Doctor Who Fooled the World, Brian Deer, the man whose fearless reporting over more than a decade nailed the truth about Wakefield, cuts to the heart of the most damaging medical conspiracy of our time. In this page-turning true story, Deer reveals how Wakefield engineered the greatest public health crisis since the early years of AIDS. Laying bare rigged research, secret business schemes, and financial and commercial conflicts of interest, Deer unravels a shocking web of deceit. At the same time, he fights off lawsuits and smear campaigns to plot the chain of causality behind the now-discredited doctor's rise to influence. The only journalist to crack Wakefield's secrets, Deer explains how he gained legal access to patients' records, uncovering the truth about their histories and diagnoses, ultimately securing the paper's retraction. "Many people have had papers in The Lancet," Deer writes. "I have had one out."

Presenting readers with harrowing portraits of children with autism, as well as the stories of parents desperately questing for answers, this is, above all, a human story of ambition gone wrong. A riveting exercise in old-school journalism, The Doctor Who Fooled the World is also a tale of one man's pursuit of greatness, thwarted when the facts don't fit.

About the Author

Brian Deer is a veteran British investigative journalist, best known for his inquiries into the drug industry, medicine, and social issues for the Sunday Times of London. Among his awards, Deer was twice named the UK's specialist reporter of the year, and in 2016 he was made Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) by York St. John University.

Endorsementss

"Brian Deer is the world's foremost authority on Andrew Wakefield."

- Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine, author of Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism: My Journey as a Vaccine Scientist, Pediatrician, and Autism Dad

"The Doctor Who Fooled the World is a definitive account of the most consequential medical fraud of the twentieth century and of investigative reporter Brian Deer's role in uncovering it. Deer's book is a compelling reminder of what great investigative journalism looks like and why it matters."

- Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Director, Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania

"Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and Deer shines some of the brightest rays yet to reveal the rotten heart of one of the greatest public health frauds in history."

- Zubin Damania, MD, University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Medicine / Host, ZDoggMD Show

"In this book, Brian Deer has taken on one of the most challenging issues of our time. The War on Vaccines is in many ways a life and death struggle, one which we cannot afford to lose. Deer has modelled the path for us to succeed."

- David Satcher, MD, former Director, Centers for Disease Control, and 16th Surgeon General of the United States / author of My Quest for Health Equity: Notes on Learning While Leading

"Brian Deer continues to startle and educate us with this truly outstanding and important book. He details the premeditated fraud foisted on the world by a doctor without patients or morals, revealing the self-aggrandizing motivations of a charlatan in a tale reading like a thriller while demonstrating the highest standards of investigative journalism."

- Michael Kinch, Washington University, author of Between Hope and Fear: A History of Vaccines and Human Immunity
Johns Hopkins University Press
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