Cover image for A paralyzing fear : the triumph over polio in America
A paralyzing fear : the triumph over polio in America
Seavey, Nina Gilden.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : TV Books, [1998]

Physical Description:
288 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm
General Note:
"This book is published to accompany the television documentary broadcast on public television"--Book jacket.
New York, 1916 -- FDR and the Transformation of Polio -- Politics, Hollywood, and Money -- The Polio Patient -- Salk, Sabin, and the Search for a Vaccine -- Polio Survivors and Post-Polio Syndrome.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RA644.P9 S43 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



We live in an age of enormous optimism about the conquest of disease. We also live in an age of dread. There is still no way to immunize against the virus that causes AIDS. Diseases like the ebola virus migrate with appalling ease and speed. As we confront our fear of new diseases and struggle to find their causes and cure, we look to past experience to help us prepare for the future.

Not very long ago, ours was a nation held hostage to terror. A Paralyzing Fear is the story of this terror. For over 50 years, from the first large epidemic in 1916 to the introduction of the Salk vaccine in 1955 and the Sabin vaccine in 1961, polio struck rich and poor, educated and ignorant. The victims lived in crowded cities, isolated rural communities, and pristine suburbs. The only thing they had in common was the tragic fact that most were children.

This book is based on thousands of hours of research and illustrated by rare photographs from the March of Dimes archives, the New York Medical History Museum, the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation and the Tuskegee Institute.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Polio books are a burgeoning field as scholarly and popular interest in epidemic-related studies abounds, fueled by the AIDS crisis. The number of good studies about polio is significant, including Tony Gould's very important A Summer Plague: Polio and Its Survivors (CH, Feb'96). This new book is different. Unlike earlier studies, it is designed to accompany a documentary film; it is cinematic, performance based, and thoroughly engrossing. Narration introduces the ". . . recollections of polio victims, their families, doctors, nurses, scientists, researchers and fund-raisers as they fought this deadly virus." The many photographs used are especially valuable. No other study of polio is as extensively and dramatically illustrated and this factor, above any other, recommends the book's purchase. As a visual resource, it is unique. In laying out the book, the visual-documentary approach was chosen over the ease of using the photographic materials. Captions have become a "Catalog of Archival Photographs"; whenever readers want to know what specifically is being shown in an illustration, they must turn to the back of the book. Additionally, there is neither an index nor a bibliography. Ultimately visual, it is emblematic of its publishers name: TV Books. General readers; undergraduates through faculty. I. Richman; Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg