Polio: An American Story
Multiple New York Times Notable Book winner and University of Texas professor, David M. Oshinsky is a leading American political and cultural historian. Garnering the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in History, this comprehensive and gripping narrative covers all the challenges, characters, and controversies in America's relentless struggle against polio. Funded by
philanthropy and gra...more
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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
Having read Laser, I suppose I shouldn’t have been shocked that science is as ego-driven as any other pursuit, but the self-interest of the scientists was prett ...more
Polio was rea ...more
I didn't know that the March of Dimes name was a pun on the March of Time, a popular newsreel back in the day. I didn't realize that Canada treated polio as a public health emergency and planned for months to distribute polio vaccine as soon as it was ...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
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.
With the discovery of microbes in the 1870s and the development of the germ theory ...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 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
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
(two thirds of the way) muddled in too many details and going in too many tangents of names and places that were just not necessary to tell the story. As a member of the medical community I felt obligated to read it. Read it if you feel inclined and have the extra time, you will learn a bit about polio and the vaccine's ...more
If you have an interest in medical history, it is definitely one you would enjoy.
David M. Oshinksy's book is both a scientific story about the search for solution to polio (ultimately that came in the form of a vaccine, and n ...more
How Oshinsky won the Pulitzer for this and not Worse Than Slavery is pretty hard to understand. I picked this up because I'm interested in epidemiology, medical history, and I loved Oshinsky's other work. But I found this to be a fairly bloated slog.
While it starts briskly, the book turns to focus almost entirely on the careers of the scientists involved in polio research in the first half of the 20th century and mostly ...more
The book spent a lot of time describing the fundraising, campaigning, and fighting among three principal researchers regarding the vaccine. Too much time, IMHO. The medical and othrt scientific information kept my interest.
|Did anyone else read this because of Freakonomics?||9||16||Aug 14, 2013 10:47AM|