Polio Voices: An Oral History from the American Polio Epidemics and Worldwide Eradication Efforts

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Incorporating many rare photographs from the family albums of survivors who tell their stories, Harvard professor Julie Silver, M.D., and historian Daniel Wilson help readers understand the sheer terror that gripped parents of young children every spring and summer during the first half of the 20th century as polio epidemics ran rampant. Interviewed as part of the Polio Oral History Project directed by Silver and funded by Harvard, foundations, and private donors, the people featured in this book describe what is arguably the most feared scourge of modern times. Testimonies are included from people who worked in polio wards, as well as from those involved in worldwide eradication efforts. The book also addresses the emergence of the polio and disability rights movement, the challenges of post-polio syndrome, and the state of polio research and developments today. And it explores the concern that polio could return in an even more vicious form as a result of bioterrorism.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This text is wonderfully rich and is highly recommended. . . . Polio Voices provides a multifaceted account of polio in America that greatly adds to the existing literature on the subject. Although many texts on polio have been written and quite a few include deep personal narratives, none are constructed with narratives as the major focus. Polio Voices is groundbreaking in this effort."


Oral History Review

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Product Details

Meet the Author

JULIE SILVER, M.D., is Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and the Medical Director of the International Rehabilitation Center for Polio (IRCP) at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. A world-renowned expert on Post-Polio Syndrome, she has published widely with seven authored books and eight edited collections to her credit, as well as dozens of articles in peer reviewed journals, magazines, and newspapers. She is the author of Post-Polio Syndrome: A Guide for Polio Survivors and Their Families, which received the Will Solimene Award of Excellence from the American Medical Writers Association. Silver is also Series Editor for two Praeger series, Contemporary Health and Wellness, and Rehabilitation and Recovery After Injury or Disease. For more information regarding polio, her polio books, or the IRCP, visit polioclinic.org.

DANIEL J. WILSON, Ph.D., has been teaching history of medicine for more than a decade and is Professor of History at Muhlenberg College. He was a Fellow with the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality National Endowment for the Humanities. He has given presentations on the polio epidemics at meetings of the American Association for the History of Medicine, The American Historical Association, and the International Post-Polio and Independent Living Conference, as well as at Harvard University and Columbia University. Wilson is, himself, a polio survivor.

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword   Julie Silver     ix
Acknowledgments     xi
Introduction     1
The Epidemic Years     15
Acute and Convalescent Polio     35
Polio's Impact on the Family     59
Living with Polio     75
The Legacy of Volunteerism     95
The Impact on Disability Rights in America     111
Post-Polio Syndrome     123
Polio Today and Its Effect on Advances in Medicine     139
Notes     157
Index     167
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    The best books ever i have ever read in my life

    You have it to read it is weth the mony
    If you need some one to talk to just right at this book spot witre to EMILY

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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