Pulitzer Prize, History, 2006This comprehensive and gripping narrative covers all the challenges, characters, and controversies in America's relentless struggle against polio. Funded by philanthropy and grassroots contributions, Salk's killed-virus vaccine (1954) and Sabin's live-virus vaccine (1961) began to eradicate this dreaded disease.
Author David M. Oshinsky, a multiple New York Times Notable Book winner and University of Texas professor, is a leading American political and cultural historian.
©2005 David M. Oshinsky; (P)2007 Recorded Books
The Pulitzer Prize for history 2006, it is life and times of those involved and their legacy to American culture, science, and medicine, warts and all. The petty behaviors as well as the great accomplishments are given diligent study. I can highly recommend this to any interested in American history of twentieth century. Discussion of the disease itself and the science involved in the development of the vaccines is secondary to the story. If you enjoyed Thomas Hager's Demon Under the Microscope, or John Berry's The Great Influenza, you will like this.
Jonathan Hogan's narration is good but not memorable, of course the book does not lend itself to acting skills.
I remember so many of these events that it almost makes me feel old. Yet as an acknowledgement of this story as history, it does cover one hundred years. So I shouldn't feel too old. :-) My mother campaigned to get a municipal pool built in order to stop the spread of polio. There is a plague commemorating her efforts on that pool today. I work with someone who was diagnosed with Post-polio syndrome.
Enough of my reminiscences... this book is just wonderful. It is anything but a dry history story. Nor is it a dry medical text. But admittingly, it is not a novel either, although it reads much like one in several areas.
Through this book you will learn about this disease, about philanthropic crusades, about research and ethics, and about the people intimatley involved in it all. The truth of this story is all told so well and narrated just as it should be.
I usually listen only in the car. But for this title, I found myself listening every time I was alone in the house as well. And I was just as sad when this book ended as I have been with some of my favorite novels. This is well worth the purchase.
I thoroughly enjoyed this intriguing book! We should never forget the endelible mark that has been left on our past from this disease!
I really enjoy medical stories, but this one was waaay too much about the politics of getting to the vaccine, starting with too much time spend talking about Roosevelt to dragging us over the internal squabbles in the National Foundation. A book about the toll of the disease on people, culture, and medice is what I was looking for: development of the vaccine in terms of medicine, not in terms of bureaucracy.
This narrator made this already boring book even more painful to listen to.
As one of the children receiving either the shots in 1954 or 1955 and knowing first-hand the hard decisions my father made each summer as to whether my sister and I would be allowed to swim, I found this book to be one of the best non-fiction offerings I have read in a long time. It is so good and so filled with facts that I am leaving it on my iTouch so as to give it another read next month.
This is a fascinating story - and while it is a bit long, I was enthralled by the story. The narrator was "C" grade, but the story is compelling and worth every minute.
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