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Books, Journals, New Media
October 12, 2005

Polio

JAMA. 2005;294(14):1829-1830. doi:10.1001/jama.294.14.1829-b

Polio and Its Aftermath is an ambitious book. It promises to narrate a story of polio that moves from the personal and biographical to the more abstract movements of social history, culture, and politics. The story line works at times, though in the end it proves impossible to sustain. That said, the book is worth reading.

The author, Marc Shell, is a professor of English and comparative literature at Harvard. He is also a polio survivor, a term that should not be confused with cured or completely recovered. It is Professor Shell’s personal and corporeal life as “a polio” that is both the inspiration for this book and a thread meant to tie together its melange of themes.

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