Health book review: ‘Polio: An American Story’   |

Health book review: ‘Polio: An American Story’  

Yampa Valley Health

‘Polio: An American Story’  

by David M. Oshinsky

In a nonfiction book that reads more like your favorite novel with many parallels to current hot issues, Oshinsky explains the Salk-Sabin race to develop their respective vaccines for Polio — one live-attenuated, one killed virus — into the larger context of postwar American society.

This is a story of two different scientists with a common mission. The book goes beyond these two men; vaccine research, to highlight how public perception and community involvement together founded the organization, The March of Dimes.

The organization changed how medical research and fundraising is conducted in the United States. Oshinsky explores why polio vaccine development inspired change in government regulations around pre-market drug testing and licensing. Oshinsky details the mistakes made in early vaccine trials, relevant to today's vaccine discussion, public health history. This is a book for those interested in medical or US history or just looking for a good read.

The following are some related resources.

Recommended Stories For You

“The Panic Virus,” by Seth Mnookin.

“The Vaccine War,” a film by Frontline.

“Vaccines: Calling the Shots,” a film by NOVA.

Fritha Morrison is a volunteer for UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center Community Health Resource Center. To see the collection of more than 1,600 books and videos on medical and scientific subjects in the Community Health Resource Center library visit Those interested don't have to check into the hospital to check out a book.

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