This book was recommended to me by a friend who's a grad student in history - but with more free time on my hands, I managed to get through it more quickly than he did. I never thought that I would find a book about the history of Polio deeply fascinating. That man can write. I am not normally a history buff but this book was extremely engaging and difficult to put down. Oshinsky did a wonderful job of portraying the personalities involved in the epic, from FDR to Foundation officials to the scientists working on the vaccine. The politics involved in this story - one might even say, the drama - struck me as impressive. My other favorite thing about the book was the way Oshinsky put polio in context. Gender, class, conceptions of disability, race, the Cold War, the media - no aspect is left unturned. It's a great exposition of a time in the country when many of our parents were growing up. It was wonderful to read a piece of nonfiction that was so difficult to put down. It's short, but it packs a punch.
I highly recommend it. Five stars.
"Polio" is a completely readable account of how the war waged on several fronts eradicated polio in America. This is a gripping narrative of the terror America faced as polio inflicted its crippling effects indiscriminately on adults and children and even the President of the United States. Unconventional research, not possible today, was done in a race against time by several fiercely competitive scientists pitting completely different vaccine models against each another while vying for millions of March of Dime dollars to bring an end to this public scourge. "Polio" is one of the most fascinating non-fiction books I've read in quite a long time.