This is a real book, and sure, it’s a biography. However, there are many reasons to doubt its veracity. It was a work-for-hire: Brinkley paid the author, Clement Wood to write it. It appears that Brinkley basically dictated its contents. Wood was a well-known hack said to “churn out manuscripts nearly on demand” and to write “at the pace of 80,000 words in 30 days” (not the best pace for careful research and fact-checking). Brinkley used it as a promotional tool, giving it away for free to fans and supporters. Finally, it contains many verifiably false statements.
Is NUTS! really “based on” this book? Not exactly. Some of it is taken directly from its pages, but it’s perhaps more honest to say that we are using The Life of a Man like Brinkley himself used it: as a source of apparent authority. Like Brinkley, we will also use other sources of apparent authority (patient testimonials, “expert interviews”, newspaper articles, etc.) not found in the pages of The Life of A Man.
Clement Wood wrote some other biographies-for-hire, including one for Brinkley’s contemporary in quackery and questionable practices in radio broadcasting Norman Baker with the awesome title Throttle: A Fact Story About Norman Baker (how did Brinkley get stuck with The Life of a Man?). Wood’s list of published works is astonishingly diverse and poor in quality. One of his books, Flesh And Other Stories, published in 1929, was the subject of an important obscenity trial. Wood was a one-time lawyer turned teacher turned Greenwich Village hipster who supposedly hosted orgies as a means of satisfying the sexual needs of his beautiful wife Gloria Goddard; he himself was said to be impotent. He is a fascinating person that we did a lot of unnecessary research on, and his Wikipedia page deserves much more attention.