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Splendid Solution: Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
If you're a baby boomer, you'll remember getting the Salk or Sabin vaccine -- and marvel that our largest generation of children were protected by the efforts of Dr. Salk and his research team. If you're a parent of a baby boomer, you'll relive the horrors of summers in the 30s, 40s and 50s when the scourge of polio raced through the nation - striking at every level of society - even a future president - FDR.
Like "THE HOT ZONE" -- this is a riveting read! Highly recommended!
one of my complaints is how kluger completely idealizes Salk. for instance, at one point he refuses to tell his rival details about his work because "it seemed somehow wrong to share what he knew with one scientist before revealing it to all the others." come on. it was proffessional rivalry.
another thing that annoyed me was kluger over-analyzing various details that didn't seem to mean anything. he ascribed intentions to various unimportant acts that for one thing, he has no proof of, and for another, are boring to listen to. and we never really get any idea of Salk's personality, which makes the book rather boring, as salk is, after all, the main character. in his acknowledgements, Kluger calls him "a tectonic force in scientific history." bull. all he did was develop a vaccine with already-created methods.
and the details. the book would probably have been way too short if kluger hadn't put in all the details, but still. he spends pages talking about trivial things like how someone decided on the specific date for a conference. sometimes it's interesting details that make a book come alive... but these aren't interesting details.
so i guess the whole problem with the book was that it wasn't alive. the man it's about is a flat, unknown character, and the plot is too long-drawn out and not interesting enough. it wasn't *so* boring, i got through it easily enough, but when i was done i couldn't help thinking what a waste of my time.
To me as on outsider, the world of science seems like it should be very fact-based and black and white. The more I read about the history of science, however, the more I learn how far that is from the truth. Some reviews complain this book doesn't have enough of the science of vaccination or epidemiology, but I think Kluger's decision to focus his story specifically on the politics of gaining acceptance within the scientific community for a brilliant idea makes a great book.
Kluger lays out the entire process of funding, scientific conferences, personality conflicts and personal hierarchy within scientific circles. It's brilliant in that it shows both the strengths and the weaknesses of the system. Further, I found reading the book caused me to take stock of my own preconceived notions and thought processes to think about what great new ideas I might be ignoring because they didn't fit my own preconceived notions.
A great book for anyone who is interested in understanding a little more about what goes on behind the scenes in scientific circles, or who would like to understand the process by which the Salk vaccine was vetted and developed.
Despite the relatively dry topic of medical research, this story manages to be suspenseful and riveting. Kluger’s masterful account of the culminating press conference in which the results of the first nationwide implementation of the vaccine were announced—a press conference!!—is the unlikely emotional highpoint of the narrative. Additionally, the history and anecdotes of how polio affected both the national consciousness and individuals while it was raging around the nation is incredibly insightful for those of us who did not live through it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I didn't like this book.
A-lot of the five star reviews are fake. Take a look for yourself.
'Splendid Solution: Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio' is a wonderful book. It explains the steps used to determine the different strains of the virus and then develop the... Read morePublished 20 months ago by C. Suriano
This is a fantastic book about polio, Jonas Salk, and the polio vaccine. I would highly recommend it for anyone interested in viruses and immunology, vaccination, or even 20th... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Jack Takahashi
If this is the sort of story that you think might hold your attention, then but it. Well researched, thoughtful and well written, it is more a story that mixes medicine and... Read morePublished on April 5, 2014 by Charles Ripley
This was a facinating book on how the polio vacine was discovered. Although there were parts that were a little too scientific for me, overall the book was easily read and I... Read morePublished on February 20, 2013 by Nebraska reader
I was born the 2nd year the polio innoculations were available to the public -- I remember visiting the "asylums" with my mom and older sister -- I have friends who are survivors... Read morePublished on December 20, 2011 by Saraj H. Cory