For much of the twentieth century, polio inspired terror as the 'morning paralysis' which could break into any home and disable or kill a previously healthy person. The cruelty of the disease is epitomised by the iconic images of the crippled child and the iron lung. This story of mankind's struggle against polio is compelling, exciting and full of twists and paradoxes. One of the grand challenges of modern medicine, it was a battleground between good and bad science. Some research won Nobel Prizes; other work was flawed or fraudulent, holding up progress and endangering patients' lives. Gareth Williams takes an original view of the journey to understanding and defeating polio, exploring the profoundly moving experiences of victims alongside the medical and scientific landmarks in the history of the disease.