- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195307143
- ISBN-13: 978-0195307146
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.1 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 180 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Polio: An American Story 1st Edition
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The Amazon Book Review
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"A rich and illuminating analysis.... The story of polio captures all the drama of high-profile and high-stakes research in an America in social flux: the tension between sober scientists and sensationalistic media; experimental disagreements grounded more in envy and ego than in technical details and data; contested credit for breakthroughs between those who labor at the laboratory bench and those who work at the patient's bedside."--Jerome Groopman, The New York Times Book Review
"Narrative history doesn't get much better.... Oshinsky illuminates Salk's competitors...and after Salk's triumph, he turns to Albert Sabin, whose live-virus vaccine became officially preferred before mass immunization with Salk's was finished. He confirms...that Sabin was a real SOB as well as a good scientist, but...airs trenchant criticism of Salk, too. Further, he brings the story down to the recent reemergence of Salk's vaccine and the present, when the WHO hopes for polio's ultimate eradication in 2008."--Booklist (starred review)
"Teases out the broader context of polio as a historian should."--Financial Times
"An easily approachable yet factually rich narrative.... Oshinsky provides a very readable and enlightening history that also can be appreciated as good storytelling."--Science
"Excellent.... Oshinsky does a good job of recounting famous tales from the war on polio.... The book also unearths some of the fascinating forgotten stories."--The Economist
"Readable, often exciting, filled with ambitious characters, it is science writing at its most engrossing.... Oshinsky brings to compelling life the work and conflicts among these researchers and their killed-versus-live-virus approaches..... 'Polio: An American Story' is definitive, an accessible and memorable account of the great American gift for, occasionally, pulling together across generations, races and economic divisions."--Floyd Skloot, Newsday
"Oshinsky vividly retells one of the greatest of all American success stories and reveals the clash of egos and interests, science and salesmanship that made it possible. Its fresh details will fascinate both those too young to remember polio's scourge and those of us who experienced it firsthand."--Geoffrey C. Ward, author of A First-Class Temperament: The Emergence of Franklin Roosevelt
"As we live through modern-day epidemics like AIDS and SARS, David Oshinsky's compelling Polio reminds us that the struggle is over more than a disease. In this riveting story of America's battle with polio, we learn that government, philanthropy, media, 'big science,' and public fear were all powerful factors to be reckoned with as well. If polio no longer plagues America, its legacy shadows us still. Be prepared for an infectious read."--Lizabeth Cohen, author of A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America
"The fight against polio was a landmark in medicine, and anyone interested in American history or epidemiology would enjoy reading this account."--Science News
"Polio: An American Story is a comprehensive and succinct detailing of a disease that caused public panic and a national mobilization of all arenas to research and find a solution to this menace...[This book] serves as a blueprint for confronting future public health challenges and a reminder of the success that can be achieved when all efforts are mobilized to work toward a solution from a problem affecting a nation's population."--Nursing History Review
About the Author
David M. Oshinsky is Professor of History at New York University and Director of the Division of Medical Humanities at the NYU School of Medicine. A leading historian of modern American politics and society, he is the author of A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy and "Worse Than Slavery": Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice, both of which won major prizes and were New York Times Notable Books.
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Top customer reviews
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Unfortunately, a second drawback of the book is the extremely superficial level at which the science is addressed. I read this book really trying to understand different scientists' contribution and what led to the eventual conquering of polio, but fundamental advances (E.g., the how and why of Enders' cell culture findings that led to a Nobel Prize) were underexplored and poorly described.
Those without a scientific background may find this book more interesting but for me it left me craving more while not feeling remotely satisfied.