An Infidel Body-Snatcher and the Fruits of His Philosophy is the story of a freethinker. Charles Knowlton called himself a “free enquirer”—his enemies called him an “Infidel.” Knowlton was also a “Body-Snatcher.” As a medical student, Charles Knowlton stole corpses to dissect. Charles was caught and convicted, and served time in jail.
“The Fruits of His Philosophy” refers to a book Charles wrote in 1831. It was the first medical birth control manual in America, and Knowlton was convicted and imprisoned for that as well—this time with hard labor. Charles was an outsider for most of his life, swimming against the stream of religious and social conformity. This is a true story about why outsiders are important, and what they can achieve.
Growing up surrounded by superstition and hypocrisy, Charles developed an unswerving dedication to finding and telling the truth. If the truth he’d found was opposed by authorities in the church and government, Charles went ahead and told it anyway. This is a true story about the power of integrity.
It’s also an adventure story, full of conflict, drama, humor, and a little horror. Charles Knowlton led an unusual life; it gave him a radical outlook and led him to develop a unique personal philosophy. But it was what Charles did with this outlook and the fruits of his philosophy, that really mattered. This is a true story about how experiences become ideas, and how ideas become actions.
What are people saying?
Charles Knowlton, doctor, freethinker, and early advocate of contraception, is best remembered for his manual on birth control, ‘The Fruits of Philosophy’, which appeared in 1832 and which led to his prosecution and imprisonment. This superb biography of Knowlton by Dan Allosso, the first ever to be published, is based on the most thorough research and written with admirable clarity and understanding. This is a biography to be enjoyed by every lover of freethought.
---Bryan Niblett, Author of Dare to Stand Alone: The Story of Charles Bradlaugh
An interesting, engaging, and at times fascinating account of a little-known American hero. Dan Allosso has soundly crafted an excellent biography.
---Phil Zuckerman, PhD, Author of Faith No More: Why People Reject Religion
History isn’t always made by Great Persons engineering Great Compromises. Sometimes society moves forward because a common man or woman takes up a radical cause and pursues it without regard to consequences. Charles Knowlton was such a man, undeservedly ignored by mainstream historians. Dan Allosso’s capable new biography of Knowlton illuminates the promise – and the pitfalls – of radical social change pursued from society’s rank and file.
---Tom Flynn, Editor, FREE INQUIRY Magazine
This is really great. I love reading about my home town -- no one ever writes about Greenfield, Massachusetts. And I love the rich guy excommunicating the church. How hip is that?
---Penn Jillette, Author of God, No!