Polio: An American Story

Polio: An American Story

Book Review over David M. Oshinsky’s Polio: An American Story
The assignment is to write a “critical” book review (NOTE: Critical does not mean, necessarily, negative). Each review should be a MINIMUM of 1200 and a MAXIMUM of 2400 words in length, typed, and double-spaced. Use a standard 10- or 12-point font, and use 1” margins. The book review should be carefully written, thoroughly proofed, and represent your best effort. Students will review David M. Oshinsky’s Polio: An American Story. The assignment is due on: Suggested paper organization Thesis: Identify the thesis or theses of the book. NOTE: The thesis refers to the author’s argument, and generally goes beyond the topic or subject matter. What point is the author trying to make? Demonstrate that you understand the author’s purpose in writing the book. Synopsis: Respond to all of the synopsis questions. The purpose of this is to present a brief overview of the book. Discuss the methods, sources, strengths and weaknesses of the book. Did the author propose new approaches, use any major new documents, propose new interpretations, challenge existing interpretations, rehash old information in new ways? Evaluation: Did the author accomplish what he/she set out to do? Was the thesis adequately supported? Was the evidence powerful enough? Of what value or use is the book? Did you enjoy or like the book? Give your judgment of the book: interesting, boring, provocative, significant, or whatever, and explain how or why you came to that conclusion. If you did not like the book, say so, and support your opinion with solid evidence. In the SYNOPSIS portion of your book review be sure to specifically address the following points and questions. Describe how the first polio outbreaks in the US resulted in troubling findings for researchers. How and why did Franklin Roosevelt find a respite from his polio at Warm Springs, Georgia? What unique challenges were faced in funding polio treatment and research during the Great Depression and World War II? How and why did fundraising for polio treatment and research change after World War II? Describe the early careers of Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin. How did researchers overcome some of the most significant obstacles to developing a polio vaccine? What challenges were involved in testing possible polio vaccines on humans? What tensions existed between the scientists performing polio research and the National Foundation? What challenges existed in planning for and carrying out field trials of Salk’s vaccine? How did the release of the Salk vaccine create political problems for the Eisenhower Administration and trigger a public health crisis? How did the Sabin vaccine come to surpass the Salk vaccine? Explain this quote: “The bitter chasm between Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin seemed only to widen over time. The two rivals enjoyed different approaches, had different supporters, and won different tributes for their work.”


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