Book Review of Polio: An American Story

Polio: An American Story
reviewed on + 39 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4


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.