In 1922, at the age of four, Joseph William Meagher contracted polio, leaving him with a back shaped like the harp of his Irish ancestors. Only all-night massaging by the family doctor saved him from a wheelchair life. After a barbaric (and fruitless) treatment to straighten his spine, Joe returned home to the shelter of a loving family. But little by little, the cold eye of the outside world made clear to him how different he was. His parents took medical advice and sent Joe off to Port Jefferson, Long Island, to spend the next four years at a hospital/school for crippled children. Though many there were severely disabled, they had the same unquenchable zest for life as any other kids, and with great innocence and gusto went about the business of being kids in the best way they could. In addition to presenting a picture of the very beginnings of rehabilitative therapy, "Broken Yesterdays" is the unswervingly candid and often amusing memoir of a boy who learned early that tears did no good, and that he faced a choice: Either surrender to the bitterness of being different or, through strength of will, make the best of what he had in him. Fortunately for his readers, Joseph William Meagher made the right choice.