The Moth in the Iron Lung
A BIOGRAPHY OF POLIO
A fascinating account of the world’s most famous disease—polio— told as you have never heard it before. Epidemics of paralysis began to rage in the early 1900s, seemingly out of nowhere. Doctors, parents, and health officials were at a loss to explain why this formerly unheard of disease began paralyzing so many children—usually starting in their legs, sometimes moving up through their abdomen and arms. For an unfortunate few, it could paralyze the muscles that allowed them to breathe.
Why did this disease start to become such a horrible problem during the late 1800s? Why did it affect children more often than adults? Why was it originally called teething paralysis by mothers and their doctors? Why were animals so often paralyzed during the early epidemics when it was later discovered most animals could not become infected? The Moth in the Iron Lung is a fascinating biography of this horrible paralytic disease, where it came from, and why it disappeared in the 1950s. If you’ve never explored the polio story beyond the tales of crippled children and iron lungs, this book will be sure to surprise.
REVIEWS FOR “THE MOTH”
Just finished The Moth and wanted to say you’ve done it again. I had no idea polio was such an interesting story! Please consider doing smallpox next!
Very engagingly written, and HARD to put down! I’ll update when I’m done with the book.
Hard to put this book down! Many people think they know all they need to know about polio, but this book presents its hidden real history in an engaging way, juxtaposing apparently unrelated stories of local life with medical theories and developments, all culminating in revelations that will make you question everything you’ve ever been told about this fearsome disease.
This is a brilliant work. Beautifully told, the story consists of many diverse threads of history, and Forrest Maready weaves them together into the logical fabric of truth that all can now easily understand.
Couldn’t put it down. A most important book. On par with Rachel Carson’s landmark book, Silent Spring.
The Moth in the Iron Lung reads like a suspense thriller of community health. A brilliant and easy book to read!