Customer Reviews for

Polio: An American Story

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
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  • Posted March 10, 2013

    For the last several decades, I have read about a dozen books ab

    For the last several decades, I have read about a dozen books about polio, and this is by far the most informative.  The book would be better without Mr. Oshinsky's second-guessing of the people who actually lived through the frightening epidemics. As the saying goes, "hindsight is 20-20," and in fact, some of the beliefs that he laughingly mentions, turned out to be true. For example, he mentions that at the time of the epidemics, some people believed that germs were on money. And in fact, recent studies have consistenly proved that very fact; dollar bills are notorious for their abundance of E. Coli, and likely harbor other microbes, as well. But If you can get past the arrogant, cynical attitude of the author, you will likely be glad that you persevered. The book takes you behind the scenes, and at the end, you feel like you actually knew the key "players" in the race to discover a viable vaccine. And as a bonus, if you grew up in the late 1950s or early 1960s as I did, you will especially appreciate how the book "fills in the blanks;" you will be able to figure out whether you received the live or dead vaccine etc. If you only read one book about how polio affected America, this should be the one that you choose.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    This is my review on Polio :an American story

    Hi, my name is Addison I am in 5th grade and i am doing a book project on this book. This book is very informitive if you are doing a report or reading to find interesting information. The book you are planing on reading(this book) would be a wounderful experience to read . I recomend this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 21, 2011

    Great book about polio.

    This was an excellent review on the history of polio in the US and the pursuit of a vaccine. It's easy in today's world to forget polio once was a very serious disease in the US. The author did a good job translating the science of vaccine research into language the average person could understand. It also provides a nice historical context of government's expansion of public health.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2009

    Fascinating account of the polio story

    I noticed this book was mentioned in the credits of a PBS "American Experience" program on the polio epidemic, so I decided to read it. Dr. Oshinsky chronicles the paranoia, publicity, and politics of polio, as well as the race to develop a vaccine. There were costly errors in the early days of vaccine research and a number of false starts. Researchers were essentially battling each other, criticizing each other's methods and findings. There were problems with the vaccine manufacturing process that led to new cases of the disease. It was anything but a simple process. The entire book represents a fascinating account of the polio epidemic and eventual eradication of the disease. I found that I couldn't wait to read further to see what happened next.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2007

    Outstanding Story of Americas's Great Medical Crusade!

    Professor Oshinsky leads the reader into an unexpected and enlightening study of one of America's greatest triumphs and struggles in Medical History. Highly recommended for any student of history or medicine. Good page turner on a subject matter that usually is not fun to read about. Easy and Accessible. Oshinsky teaches at the University of Texas Austin.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2004

    Review of Polio: An American Story

    Polio: An American Story by David Oshinsky was really, really interesting. I had no idea that polio was such an intense subject and that everyone was so terrified of getting it. To tell the truth I wasn¿t even positive what it was. I love how Oshinsky shows how vulnerable we were to such scares in America and how the fear of contracting polio spread like wildfire. He reveals in the book that polio was a lot more uncommon than the media led on, and that in postwar America there was no quicker and easier way to come together than fighting against a raging epidemic. My mom and her brother were born in the very early 50¿s, and I brought up polio when in the middle of this book. She told me how my grandmother wouldn¿t let them go swimming in public pools and how she had to get the polio vaccine when she was seven. She said my grandmother and her friends¿ moms were constantly worried about it, it became a daily part of life. She showed me a circle-like scar on her arm from the vaccine. I found out my dad had one as well. Hearing my parents talk about it made it seem very real. This book was really informative but it also left me in suspense- he painted a nervous America really well. I was always right with the people he described in hoping for a cure. Without being boring, Oshinsky talks about Albert Sabin and Jonas Salk, two rivals searching for the perfect vaccine. I think this book was a really interesting read because I found things out like how this is when the famous March of Dimes began and stuff like that, but it also had vivid stories of real people that tug at your heartstrings. -Stefanie

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted February 15, 2014

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    Posted February 19, 2011

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