Polio frightened and mobilized the American people like no other public health concern of the 20th century, perhaps because of its observable, often sudden, and sometimes permanent effects on the human body. Consequently, efforts to combat the disease, control its spread, and produce an effective vaccine played a fundamental role in shaping how our country addresses public health and epidemic disease.
In this lecture, David Oshinsky discusses his Pulitzer Prize–winning book Polio: An American Story, which includes a history of polio and the arsenal deployed to conquer it in the United States.
David Oshinsky is a distinguished scholar-in-residence in the department of history at New York University and an adjunct faculty member at the NYU School of Medicine, and holds the Jack S. Blanton Chair in History at the University of Texas.
Recorded on November 6, 2010 at the Harold Washington Library Center.