Now, here’s a must-read book! Lynn Cullen’s latest book, The Woman with the Cure, is historical fiction about the last great polio epidemic of the 1950s and race to find a vaccine.
Dr. Dorothy Horstmann, a pediatrician, epidemiologist, and virologist was the first woman professor at the Yale School of Medicine. She did crucial work on the polio virus, work that led to vaccine development. You don’t know her name because Salk and Sabin had all the limelight. Cullen’s book, very well researched and based in fact, imagines details of her personal life we can’t know about (she was an intensely private person) and gives us a real appreciation for the vital role she played in saving millions of lives through an effective vaccine.
The author, Lynn Cullen, gave a riveting talk, with lots of slides of iron lungs, children in braces, and fully conveyed the horror of the polio years of the 1940-50s. She easily made the case for the important work on polio that many women, Dorothy Horstmann and others, did with no fanfare or publicity.
This is Ms. Cullen’s seventh book of historical fiction, almost all about overlooked women. (She has also written children’s books.) I feel like she is helping us re-write history, one woman at a time! Keep it up Lynn!
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