Book Review: IN THE SHADOW OF POLIO: A PERSONAL AND SOCIAL HISTORY (Kathryn Black) : AH | HistoryNet MENU

Book Review: IN THE SHADOW OF POLIO: A PERSONAL AND SOCIAL HISTORY (Kathryn Black) : AH

8/11/2001 • American History Reviews, Reviews

IN THE SHADOW OF POLIO: A PERSONAL AND SOCIAL HISTORY, by Kathryn Black (Addison-Wesley, 320 pages, $23.00).
In reconstructing her early memories of the loss of her mother topoliomyelitis, Black interweaves her personal story with an examination of the impact that the highly infectious viraldisease–which erupted in the United States in 1942 and climaxed in the summer of 1952 with almost 60,000 cases–had onthe American public. In addition to drawing on interviews with family members, victims of the disease, and hospital personnelwho worked tirelessly to control that outbreak, the author traces the progress in the treatment of polio from the nineteenthcentury, when doctors jolted hapless patients with electrical current, to the development of an effective vaccine by physicianJonas Salk (1914- ) in the early 1950s.

 

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