Polio: An American Story
Naturally this book caught my eye when I spotted in on a friend's bookshelf and reading it I discovered how little I knew about the disease and the people involved with finding a cure.
The book can be divided into two parts - the first dealing with the period up to the death of FDR (who had the disease) and the second dealing with the effort to find...more
While polio is often portrayed as an epidemic that raged throughout the 1940s and 1950s, in actuality, ten times as many children during those two decades would be killed in accidents and three times that number from cancer. However, polio had the benefit of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, forerun...more
Polio, An American Story isn’t just a book about infantile paralysis in the 1950’s, it’s a book rich with American history and while I generally am loathsome of such detail and find it distracting to the main point, I couldn’t get enough of it in this book and found the authors extraordinary detail only enlightening.
Oshinsky begins by explaining that the state of the American Medical institutions in the 1900 was both dangerous an...more
The book covers both the social and the scientific angles, describing equally adeptly the birth...more
Polio was rea...more
This book traces the polio virus from its earliest emergence ultimately to 2005, the year this book was published. It definitely has as its backbone th...more
There are a number of stories in this book that really stick out for me. One is that polio was more likely to strike middle and upper class people. The reason is that a mild form of polio occurs in dirt, and poor people were exposed to it early in their lives and built up immunity to it. Wealthier people, like Franklin D. Roose...more
Excellent account of the history of the campaign against polio in the US. Perhaps my experience as a polio survivor influences my reaction to the book. However, this is the first book that has made me want to know more about this terrible disease. I would have liked to have read even more about the social history of reactions to polio. I think a lot of reviewers are too young to understand how the threat of polio really paralyzed our society and distorted childhood experiences for many.
This book sheds light on the whole thing. The "American Story" is indeed a story, replete with good guys, bad guys, and some guys who were sometimes of one persuasion and sometimes of another. Also like other good stories there...more
The book shows how the March of Dimes used many of the modern tools of public relations and publicity to drive effective fund-raising to finance research into polio.
Jonas Salk, we learn, was treated as an outsider by the research establishment, but his persistence pushed him to the forefront of polio research and made him an international hero.
A great look at the ins-an...more
Working at NIH, it was great to get a layman's perspective of vaccine development, since many of the scientists I work with have personal experience in this proces...more
With the discovery of microbes in the 1870s and the development of the germ theory...more
As a child who received the sugar-cube vaccine after stan...more
I finished the book late last night. It's fascinatin...more
So I knew they eliminated polio by finding a vacine, but what caused it? How was it spread? What was the key to making this amazing progress?
It was hard to find a book that answered my question...more
Day 1: Everything fine -- a beautiful summer day.
Day 2: After a day of exercise, you have a stiff neck and are very tired.
Day 3: You have polio -- you're in agony.
Day 4 until the end of your life: You are a helpless cripple in an iron lung, bankrupt...more
While this is an excellent history book, it's not necessarily filled with the history that I'm interested in. Oshinsky focused on the National Foundation, Sabin and Salk and the spread of the vaccine around the US and the world. What it turns out I'd rather read about: The actual mechanics of Polio, the small-stories of people stricken with the disease and FDR's politics. There's no problem with this book;...more
Oh boy, am I ever glad I began reading it, because I didn't stop until I finished! I was amazed at how much additional history trivia was in it, and how much like a detective novel it read. The topic was polio and the race to find the cure, as the title suggests. But it...more
On the one front, he describes the merging of expertise in politics and advertising in the establishment of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. The force of FDR's personality a...more
Oshinsky's primary interest, and his real talent as an author lies in describing the personalities that pushed the search for a cure forward and their relationship...more
This book mainly recounts how th National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis supported Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin in developing vaccines for this disease. Polio is a somewhat unusual infectious disease, in that before the vaccines became available, the most appalling potential effects of the virus (such as paralysis and death) would often be more apparent among the better scrubbed children of the midddle and upper classes than among their poorer contemporaries. Sabin hypothesized that perhaps...more
The story my mom's older sister told is still the most haunting. My poor little mom was in the hospital isolation ward, separ...more
|Did anyone else read this because of Freakonomics?||9||12||Aug 14, 2013 10:47AM|