BookBrowse Reviews Warm Springs by Susan Richards Shreve

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Warm Springs

Traces of a Childhood at FDR's Polio Haven

by Susan Richards Shreve

Warm Springs
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2007, 224 pages
    Jun 2008, 240 pages

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A rich and moving memoir of childhood illness and its aftermath by a member of the last generation of Americans to have experienced childhood polio

Shreve, who contracted polio when she was a year-old, spent the first 11 years of her life trying to fit into "normal" life, walking with a brace and failing deportment classes at the local elementary school. So she was thrilled to arrive at a place where crippled children were considered ordinary - only to find herself insufficiently debilitated to be considered normal there either!

For many decades after Shreve's father collected her from Warm Springs, having been ask to remove his 13-year-old daughter with immediate effect as she was a "danger" to the other children, Shreve never thought to look back on her time at the center. This changed a few years ago when she and her husband struck up a conversation with two scientists who were ...

The History of Warm Springs & Franklin D Roosevelt
In 1924, FDR (who contracted polio in 1921) received a letter from a friend of his, George Foster Peabody, informing him that a young polio sufferer seemed to have recovered his ability to walk by swimming in the buoyant waters of a Georgia resort called Warm Springs. Peabody, a wealthy banker and co-owner of the resort, suggested that FDR should visit, which he did shortly after. Roosevelt was delighted by the warmth and buoyancy of the pool which supported his weight and enabled him to stand and practice walking. In 1926, FDR announced that he had decided to buy Warm Springs and turn it into a center for the hydrotherapeutic treatment of polio victims. He invested nearly $200,000 in the foundation ...

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