Polio: An American Story

Oxford University Press
8
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Here David Oshinsky tells the gripping story of the polio terror and of the intense effort to find a cure, from the March of Dimes to the discovery of the Salk and Sabin vaccines--and beyond. Drawing on newly available papers of Jonas Salk, Albert Sabin and other key players, Oshinsky paints a suspenseful portrait of the race for the cure, weaving a dramatic tale centered on the furious rivalry between Salk and Sabin. He also tells the story of Isabel Morgan, perhaps the most talented of all polio researchers, who might have beaten Salk to the prize if she had not retired to raise a family. Oshinsky offers an insightful look at the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which was founded in the 1930s by FDR and Basil O'Connor, it revolutionized fundraising and the perception of disease in America. Oshinsky also shows how the polio experience revolutionized the way in which the government licensed and tested new drugs before allowing them on the market, and the way in which the legal system dealt with manufacturers' liability for unsafe products. Finally, and perhaps most tellingly, Oshinsky reveals that polio was never the raging epidemic portrayed by the media, but in truth a relatively uncommon disease. But in baby-booming America--increasingly suburban, family-oriented, and hygiene-obsessed--the specter of polio, like the specter of the atomic bomb, soon became a cloud of terror over daily life. Both a gripping scientific suspense story and a provocative social and cultural history, Polio opens a fresh window onto postwar America.
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About the author

David M. Oshinsky is Professor of History at New York University and Director of the Division of Medical Humanities at the NYU School of Medicine. A leading historian of modern American politics and society, he is the author of A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy and "Worse Than Slavery": Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice, both of which won major prizes and were New York Times Notable Books.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Apr 12, 2005
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9780199726592
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Americas (North, Central, South, West Indies)
History / United States / 20th Century
Medical / Diseases
Social Science / Popular Culture
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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From a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian comes a riveting history of New York's iconic public hospital that charts the turbulent rise of American medicine.

Bellevue Hospital, on New York City's East Side, occupies a colorful and horrifying place in the public imagination: a den of mangled crime victims, vicious psychopaths, assorted derelicts, lunatics, and exotic-disease sufferers. In its two and a half centuries of service, there was hardly an epidemic or social catastrophe—or groundbreaking scientific advance—that did not touch Bellevue.
     David Oshinsky, whose last book, Polio: An American Story, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize, chronicles the history of America's oldest hospital and in so doing also charts the rise of New York to the nation's preeminent city, the path of American medicine from butchery and quackery to a professional and scientific endeavor, and the growth of a civic institution. From its origins in 1738 as an almshouse and pesthouse, Bellevue today is a revered public hospital bringing first-class care to anyone in need. With its diverse, ailing, and unprotesting patient population, the hospital was a natural laboratory for the nation's first clinical research. It treated tens of thousands of Civil War soldiers, launched the first civilian ambulance corps and the first nursing school for women, pioneered medical photography and psychiatric treatment, and spurred New York City to establish the country's first official Board of Health.
     As medical technology advanced, "voluntary" hospitals began to seek out patients willing to pay for their care. For charity cases, it was left to Bellevue to fill the void. The latter decades of the twentieth century brought rampant crime, drug addiction, and homelessness to the nation's struggling cities—problems that called a public hospital's very survival into question. It took the AIDS crisis to cement Bellevue's enduring place as New York's ultimate safety net, the iconic hospital of last resort. Lively, page-turning, fascinating, Bellevue is essential American history.
With a unique attention to time as the defining nature of history, CENGAGE ADVANTAGE BOOKS: AMERICAN PASSAGES: A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, 4e, offers students a view of American history as a complete, compelling narrative. AMERICAN PASSAGES emphasizes the intertwined nature of three key characteristics of time--sequence, simultaneity, and contingency. With clarity and purpose, the authors convey how events grow from other events, people's actions, and broad structural changes (sequence), how apparently disconnected events occurred in close chronological proximity to one another and were situated in larger, shared contexts (simultaneity), and how history suddenly pivoted because of events, personalities, and unexpected outcomes (contingency). To meet the demand for a low-cost, high-quality survey text, CENGAGE ADVANTAGE BOOKS: AMERICAN PASSAGES: A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, 4e, offers readers the complete text in an economically priced format. All volumes feature a paperbound, two-color format that appeals to those seeking a comprehensive, trade-sized history text. Available in the following split options: CENGAGE ADVANTAGE BOOKS: AMERICAN PASSAGES: A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, Fourth Edition (Chapters 1-32), ISBN: 978-0-547-16646-9; Volume I: To 1877, (Chapters 1-16), ISBN: 978-0-547-16630-8; Volume II: Since 1865, (Chapters 16-32), ISBN: 978-0-547-16628-5.
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