Jonas Salk: A Life

Hardcover | April 21, 2015

byCharlotte DeCroes Jacobs

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When a waiting world learned on April 12, 1955, that Jonas Salk had successfully created a vaccine to prevent poliomyelitis, he became a hero overnight. Born in a New York tenement, humble in manner, Salk had all the makings of a twentieth-century icon - a knight in a white coat. In the wakeof his achievement, he received a staggering number of awards and honors; for years his name ranked with Gandhi and Churchill on lists of the most revered people. And yet the one group whose adulation he craved - the scientific community - remained ominously silent. "The worst tragedy that couldhave befallen me was my success," Salk later said. "I knew right away that I was through - cast out." In the first complete biography of Jonas Salk, Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs unravels Salk's story to reveal an unconventional scientist and a misunderstood and vulnerable man. Despite his incredible success in developing the polio vaccine, Salk was ostracized by his fellow scientists, who accused him offailing to give proper credit to other researchers and scorned his taste for media attention. Even before success catapulted him into the limelight, Salk was an inscrutable man disliked by many of his peers. Driven by an intense desire to aid mankind, he was initially oblivious and eventuallyresigned to the personal cost - as well as the costs suffered by his family and friends. And yet Salk remained, in the eyes of the public, an adored hero. Based on hundreds of personal interviews and unprecedented access to Salk's sealed archives, Jacobs' biography offers the most complete picture of this complicated figure. Salk's story has never been fully told; until now, his role in preventing polio has overshadowed his part in co-developing thefirst influenza vaccine, his effort to meld the sciences and humanities in the magnificent Salk Institute, and his pioneering work on AIDS. A vivid and intimate portrait, this will become the standard work on the remarkable life of Jonas Salk.

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From the Publisher

When a waiting world learned on April 12, 1955, that Jonas Salk had successfully created a vaccine to prevent poliomyelitis, he became a hero overnight. Born in a New York tenement, humble in manner, Salk had all the makings of a twentieth-century icon - a knight in a white coat. In the wakeof his achievement, he received a staggering ...

Charlotte D. Jacobs, M.D. is the Ben and A. Jess Shenson Professor of Medicine (Emerita) at Stanford University. She has served as Senior Associate Dean and as Director of the Clinical Cancer Center, and is the author of Henry Kaplan and the Story of Hodgkin's Disease.

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Jonas Salk: A Life
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Format:HardcoverDimensions:512 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:April 21, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199334412

ISBN - 13:9780199334414

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Table of Contents

Prologue - Two Plagues1. Born With a Caul2. Big Shot3. Tenacity4. Fighting a Ghost5. Vaccine Neophyte6. Virgin Territory7. The Disease Known as Polio8. The Chosen9. Renegade Researcher10. Torn From His Arms11. The World's Largest Clinical Trial12. It Works!13. The Cutter Incident14. Birth of an Icon15. Act II16. Two Cultures17. An Architectural Masterpiece18. A Scientific Shangri-La19. Divorced20. Harnessing the Immune System21. Lions Mate with Lions22. Salk Unfolding23. Fall From Grace24. Unbridled Freedom25. Nemesis26. The Swine Flu SNAFU27. Final Fling28. Polio Redux29. Aide-Mmoire30. Disciples, Sycophants, and Lovers31. The Clarion Call to AIDS32. Unresolved Chagrin

Editorial Reviews

"The story of Jonas Salk is an endlessly fascinating one and in Charlotte Jacobs's capable hands this will be a winner and an important book." --Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone and Professor and Doctor of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine