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Jonas Salk: A Life by Charlotte DeCroes…

Jonas Salk: A Life

by Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs

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After reading Charlotte Jacobs biography of Jonas Salk, I know much more about the man and his work. He had some flaws but he did remarkable work in vaccines for influenza, polio and HIV. After reading Jacob's biography, I want to learn about Salk's philosophy. I think Salk lived his life to the end as he recorded in one of his last thoughts: "How can I use my self or allow my self to be used in a way that might be able to influence the human future for the better?" Jacob's has done her research, this is a very worthwhile biography of Jonas Salk. ( )
  brewbooks | May 10, 2016 |
Jonas Salk: A Life by Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs is a very detailed and exhaustively researched biography of both the man and his work. For a scientist who arguably made the most important discovery of the 20th century in healthcare his life was not simply a tale of greatness and its many rewards. In fact, Jacobs does a phenomenal job through her consistently engaging writing of making Salk's uneven life trajectory into a smooth read.

There is something for most everyone in this biography. There is enough science in the discussion of his work to engage those with a strong interest in science yet not so much that this becomes bogged down. For lovers of biographies in general this is a well written and well structured work that could easily be a measuring stick not just for biographies of Salk but biographies as a whole.

Reviewed from an ARC made available by the publisher via NetGalley. ( )
  pomo58 | Feb 14, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0199334412, Hardcover)

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 wake of 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 could have 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 of failing 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 eventually resigned 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 the first 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 03 Jul 2015 06:55:17 -0400)

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