Polio Voices: An Oral History from the American Polio Epidemics and Worldwide Eradication Efforts (Praeger)

Featuring a combination of historical perspective and direct testimonies from people impacted by polio, this book  gives a compelling view of the 20th century epidemics in the United States polio epidemics, as well as polio today.

Incorporating many rare photographs from the family albums of survivors who tell their stories, Dr. Silver teams up with historian Daniel Wilson, PhD to help readers understand the sheer terror that gripped parents of young children every spring and summer during the first half of the 20th century as polio epidemics ran rampant. Interviewed as part of the Polio Oral History Project directed by Dr. Silver and funded by Harvard, foundations, and private donors, the people featured in this book describe what is arguably the most feared scourge of modern times.  This book and Dr. Silver’s work was the impetus for a museum exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History titled “Whatever Happened to Polio?”  Polio Voices also addresses the emergence of the polio and disability rights movement, the challenges of Post-Polio Syndrome, and the state of polio research and eradication efforts today.

In this book, polio survivors describe in their own words:

  • Hospitalization during the 20th century polio epidemics in the United States
  • Resuming their lives with a disability before the disability rights movement
  • Experiencing symptoms of Post-Polio Syndrome later in life
  • Polio eradication efforts worldwide

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