Oshinsky offers an insightful look at the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which was founded in the 1930s by FDR and Basil O'Connor, it revolutionized fundraising and the perception of disease in America. Oshinsky also shows how the polio experience revolutionized the way in which the government licensed and tested new drugs before allowing them on the market, and the way in which the legal system dealt with manufacturers' liability for unsafe products. Finally, and perhaps most tellingly, Oshinsky reveals that polio was never the raging epidemic portrayed by the media, but in truth a relatively uncommon disease. But in baby-booming America--increasingly suburban, family-oriented, and hygiene-obsessed--the specter of polio, like the specter of the atomic bomb, soon became a cloud of terror over daily life.
Both a gripping scientific suspense story and a provocative social and cultural history, Polio opens a fresh window onto postwar America.
Reviews and Recommendations
We've comprehensively compiled reviews of Polio from the world's leading experts.
Seth Mnookin What I find so impressive about this book is that Oshinsky really does cover the whole history of a disease but does so in a way that you never feel you’re getting a CliffsNotes version. It’s a pretty unwieldy topic: you could write an entire book just about the year the polio vaccine was rolled out, or what happened since then, or you could write a book, as Paul Offit did, just about the Cutter incident. All the way through Polio you feel like you are getting all the details you would want or need. To combine that much information in a way that was not only accessible and exciting and... (Source)