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The Moth in the Iron Lung: A Biography of Polio

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4.53  ·  Rating details ·  110 ratings  ·  25 reviews
A fascinating account of the world’s most famous disease—polio—
told as you have never heard it before. Epidemics of paralysis began to rage in the early 1900s, seemingly out of nowhere. Doctors, parents, and health officials were at a loss to explain why this formerly unheard of disease began paralyzing so many children—usually starting in their legs, sometimes moving up
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Kindle Edition
Published June 4th 2018
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La Coccinelle
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, adult
The tale of polio that is told—to both children and medical students alike—does little to advance our understanding of not only what happened, but what might happen again. The account of heroic man persevering over a heartless Mother Nature needs to be corrected. Despite all the lab coats and microscopes, the March of Dimes and the Nobel prizes, the enemies were actually our own clever designs the whole time.


After reading Crooked earlier this year, I was intrigued by what the author might ha
...more
Lisa Zuniga
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an awesome historical retelling of the origins of “poliomyelitis” and the failed medical attempts to prevent and cure it. It felt like it had to be a creepy fictional thriller story, but knowing the amount of research that went into his retelling, it is chilling how accurate it is. I had goosebumps by the very end. A must-read for anyone who has already begun the descent down this rabbit hole, and an open-minded reading might just get you down the rabbit hole, too.
J Bishop
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Important read for getting an unvarnished, and likely much more correct than the widely promoted, propaganda laced representation of polio history. Compelling portrayal that makes an effort to canvass many data points that may weigh in to events for reader consideration.
Candice Eales
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating and insightful. Really enjoyed reading this book - I didn’t want to put it down! Highly recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about the history of Polio.
John
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A well written book that is very appropriate for the world of today. Sudden onset of epidemics, the complete change to American society, the panic over a disease, and the failure to properly identify the risk. This is a story of the arrogance of man that is being repeated today. The same ineffective treatments then are being recycled today. The author lays out the well researched facts and lets the reader make the conclusions. This should be required reading for everyone involved is science and ...more
Hollie D
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. You would be surprised by how much you don’t know about the actual history of polio.
Nathan Hodge
Mar 12, 2020 rated it did not like it
DNF. I read about 30 pages of this book before looking into the author's other works. Books about how vaccines cause Autism, a book about how vaccines cause physical defects in children, books about why parents shouldn't vaccinate children. No, the dude is not even close to being a medical professional (graduated with a degree in Religion and Music, whatever the hell that means). As entertaining as the book seems, I can't in good faith trust a book about this topic written by this man. Shame on ...more
Sarah Bayless
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing book! Well written. Interesting. Nice pace. It’s presented in a non dry fashion. It is very surprising information and should be taught in every high school around the country.The effect polio has had on modern medicine is very important to understand.
M
Dec 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
I’m interested in infectious diseases, so I’ve been reading about Poliomyelitis, which has been eradicated in most of the world. I made myself listen to this Audiobook, so I could learn about what sort of bad information is still being published. Poliomyelitis has been eradicated by use of vaccines in most of the world, but the disease is active in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I doubt lead arsenates and DDT are still used only in the border areas of both countries.

In July 2019, there were 32 cases
...more
Tim
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding, informative, well-written book that tells an incredible story about the history of poliomyelitis, not to be confused with the poliovirus. Rather than just a bunch of facts stacked on top of each other the book is a series of short chapters that really do tell a story from a farm in Vermont to America's largest cities decades later. It's really a must-read for anyone curious about the topic of polio, it's causes, and it's "cures." I'm looking forward to picking up Maready's other boo ...more
Amanda Rae
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent read for anyone who is interested in the history of "polio", old-timey pharmaceuticals and the usage of toxic pesticides and agricultural chemicals.
Rachel
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Interesting book

Lots of historical data about the polio cases and the relationship between outbreaks and external factors such as pesticides. Well written and documented.
Laurel
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Moth is the Iron Lung is a fascinating history of the Poliomyelitis disease. It was fascinating to me especially because much of the book took place during my lifetime. Polio was first noted in 1894, and it hit its peak in the 1950’s when I was born.

Why a moth? Well, the book explains that it was the accidental introduction of a nonnative species gypsy moth by an entomologist in 1869, that began the chain reaction story of how polio began in the USA.

The book rings a lot of bells in similari
...more
Robin
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 stars.
I found this to be a pretty interesting read, one of the most fascinating parts of polio(myelitis) was how early on it seemed to strike the healthiest kids. Unfortunately this was never really explained. Perhaps it's still unknown why that is but I was hoping for the book to have some conclusion on this.

I liked the comparison at the end of the book to the Zika Virus and how the portrayal in the media really frames things like this.

It's pretty amazing to think that DDT was harmless for h
...more
Didi Cohen
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Brave, thorough and thought provoking. I had no idea how many factors contributed to what was referred to as Polio at that time. It’s easy to forget how different life was then, yet how many things stay the same. I appreciated that this book was not necessarily a “shame on you” to doctors at the time (which I was concerned it would be) but rather a history of how we problem solve with the resources we have at the time, how solutions can cause new unforeseen problems, and how we can be influ ...more
Trisha
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book gives the history how polio was started. The moth is because they sprayed toxic arsenic sprays to kill moths and wherever they did the polio was found. It’s amazing how much toxins they sprayed back then. Explains the whole continuation of polio and the vaccine introduction. You can draw your own conclusions.
Tiletha
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A MUST read! If you are not sure you want to...just read the Epilogue and Commentary first and Im sure you will go back and digest the entire book from its start. With all Ive read and studied and seen and continue to learn, if you asked me if I would vaccinate my children if I had my time over again....not in a heart beat. 😔
Catherine
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating read

Fascinating but also shocking and devastating, especially since we don’t seem to have learned anything from history. The same greedy mistakes and the same propaganda blinding us to what is really going on, is just repeated with impunity.
Lori Wilson
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Learn the real story about polio!

I learned a lot about the over-use of dangerous pesticides and how their use affected the brains of so many children! I love the fact that the author provides many references to his claims. Best book I've ever read about polio!
Tina Krogdahl
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, politics
This book is a must-read. A superbly written medical detective story that reads like a murder mystery, this book will blow your concept of this disease (and many others) and how our society's institutions deal with them. Well-researched and engagingly written.
Jessica
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating! I really enjoyed this one and it sparked a lot of thinking and research.
Morven
Apr 05, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hilariously written by a man who thinks you shouldn't vaccinate your kids against deadly diseases in case they get autism.
Katie Rom
Apr 01, 2020 rated it liked it
3 stars for the first half of this book. By the second half I was questioning how factual it was. There were some interesting theories but no evidence to back them up. Zero research cited. It would have been much more powerful if the author had a medical background or cited research by actual scientists. Read with skepticism.
Irkalla Ethrinkah
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Fascinating and eye-opening. Yet another book from this author which is unlike anything you have read before.
Pam Duman
rated it it was amazing
Feb 20, 2020
Amie Deal
rated it it was amazing
Aug 27, 2020
Denise Pryor
rated it it was amazing
Oct 07, 2020
Catherine Gentry
rated it it was amazing
Oct 30, 2020
Kristen Hatten
rated it liked it
Mar 13, 2020
Josh Davis
rated it it was amazing
Dec 22, 2019
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After graduating from Wake Forest University with a degree in Religion and Music, Maready plied his trade in the film industry for several years, working on several Muppet movies, four seasons of Dawson’s Creek, and many other films and television shows as an audio engineer, editor, composer, and animator. He transitioned into technology as a designer and developer for visual effects software and ...more

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