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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, History, 2006
This 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
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Leigh A on 10-02-07

Memorable History

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.

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17 of 17 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Patti on 07-22-08


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.

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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