Apr 21, 2021
And the Band Played on: People, Politics and the AIDS Epidemic
Posted by Randy Shilts

By the time Rock Hudson s death in 1985 alerted all America to the danger of the AIDS epidemic, the disease had spread across the nation, killing thousands of people and emerging as the greatest health crisis of the 20th century America faced a troubling question What happened How was this epidemic allowed to spread so far before it was taken seriously In answering theBy the time Rock Hudson s death in 1985 alerted all America to the danger of the AIDS epidemic, the disease had spread across the nation, killing thousands of people and emerging as the greatest health crisis of the 20th century America faced a troubling question What happened How was this epidemic allowed to spread so far before it was taken seriously In answering these questions, Shilts weaves the disparate threads into a coherent story, pinning down every evasion and contradiction at the highest levels of the medical, political, and media establishments Shilts shows that the epidemic spread wildly because the federal government put budget ahead of the nation s welfare health authorities placed political expediency before the public health and scientists were often concerned with international prestige than saving lives Against this backdrop, Shilts tells the heroic stories of individuals in science and politics, public health and the gay community, who struggled to alert the nation to the enormity of the danger it faced And the Band Played On is both a tribute to these heroic people and a stinging indictment of the institutions that failed the nation so badly.

  • Title: And the Band Played on: People, Politics and the AIDS Epidemic
  • Author: Randy Shilts
  • ISBN: 9780140111309
  • Page: 468
  • Format: Paperback
  • And the Band Played on People Politics and the AIDS Epidemic By the time Rock Hudson s death in alerted all America to the danger of the AIDS epidemic the disease had spread across the nation killing thousands of people and emerging as the greatest healt

    Emily May

    The gay plague got covered only because it finally had struck people who counted, people who were not homosexuals.1 This is an absolutely astounding piece of investigative journalism Shilts has dug deep into the history of the AIDs crisis from its very early origins in Africa, being passed around by a lack of medical hygiene, to the bath houses of New York and San Francisco He has provided a comprehensive, horrific history of the disease, its victims, and the uncaring government who allowed it t [...]


    Melody

    This book brought back the early 80s in hallucinatory detail I remember when we first heard about Gay Cancer, and how hard it was to get any decent information I remember when the world got wobbly and my friends were dying and it seemed like nobody cared I was quite certain that, given my penchant for fey boys, I wouldn t be around to see the turn of the century I vividly remember making up file folders for 1989 for my job and thinking that the ones for 1990 would be in someone else s handwritin [...]


    Hadrian

    AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals Jerry Falwell In this respect our townfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves in other words they were humanists they disbelieved in pestilences A pestilence isn t a thing made to man s measure therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogey of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away But it doesn t always pass away, and from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away Albert Camus, The PlaguePerhaps the most [...]


    Katie

    If you re seeking a comprehensive history of the AIDS epidemic, look no further Written as a detective story, this must read book covers all aspects of the disease, from history, to journalism, to politics, to people Randy Shilts, in his thorough investigative report, highlights the many blunders along the way, blunders that are unbelievable in retrospect It is not an anti Republican rant, rather it is a very fair assessment of the collective failure of all entities involved Because the individu [...]


    laaaaames

    This book is really important, considering 1 We are likely not safe from another random crazy deadly virus that will catch us offguard.2 You have probably underestimated what an asshole Reagan was.3 You might be going to see Milk soon and would like to read of some of what happened after him in SF politics.4 Prop 8 effing passed, proving our society has farther to come than perhaps we realized.Points deducted because apparently the Patient Zero story is a bit hinky Also it s often a lot to keep [...]


    Tamora Pierce

    This has to be the most maddening book I ve ever read, and that includes books on the Vietnam and Second World Wars As AIDS arrives in the world in the late 1970s, it strikes Africa first, then the American gay scene Shilts documents the search for the virus in all its muddled, politicized, under funded, disregarded insanity, during which gay men died quickly or slowly, without drugs that did than eased their passing for years, in their homes or in facilities that had no notion of how to care [...]


    Larry

    I recall being so incensed at the failure of common decency across every part of the establishment spectrum that I think I can trace much of my continuing skepticism of our political process directly to Randy s work I actually think this book should be required reading at college level for any political science class that is examining the flaws of what our system can become Eisenhower youtu 8y06NSBBRtY was right in his grave warnings about the danger inherent in the military industrial complex b [...]


    Sasha

    I think everyone should read this book Seriously Randy Shilts presents the epic tale of the beginning of the AIDs epidemic through the eyes of health officials, scientists, doctors, politicians, patients, and the media It is an incredible story of how America willfully ignored the spread of AIDs until it was too late to stem He uses all the interviews and research that he did as a journalist for the SF Chronicle who covered the epidemic full time for years The book travels all over the world in [...]


    Mark

    I didn t finish this Reads like bad journalism The story is, of course, tragic, but the various accounts ring false like the stories that actors tell For example, we find On a hunch, Gottlieb twisted some arms to convince pathologists to take a small scraping of the patient s lung tissue through a nonsurgical maneuver OK, so the author isn t a doctor, but 1 pathologists don t do endobronchial biopsies, pulmonologists do, 2body has to twist a pulmonologists arm to do an endobronchial biopsy or fo [...]


    Kater Cheek

    This book has just about everything I like in a non fiction It s got science, medicine, high stakes, historical significance, and modern relevance Trying to figure out why it wasn t compelling to me, I had to focus on the 6th word in the title Politics.This novel is about AIDS, but it s much about people than about science Shilts has a huge cast of characters, from French researchers to gay activists to scientists with the NIH and CDC He tracks the disease from Fire Island nightclub hoppers in [...]


    Jennifer

    And the Band Played On is as important a tool in the teaching of American history as Uncle Tom s Cabin, The Jungle, The Grapes of Wrath, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings When crafting the required reading for students of American history, And the Band Played On needs to be added to that list.For many of us, this epidemic started in our lifetime We remember first hearing about it on the news, but not really knowing what it was about We remember the misinformation and differing accounts of tran [...]


    David

    Exhausting.You re screaming It s AIDS, you dumb fucks for the first third, Just close the goddamn bathouses for the middle, and Where s the fucking beef at Ronald Reagan for the last third.And then the liver spots on the back of your hand start to look like KS.Fascinating, heart breaking not our finest hour.Who knew that San Franciscans thought New Yorkers were so closet y Bits We ve got to show each other and the unfriendly world that we ve got than looks, brains, talent, and money We ve got g [...]


    Laini

    There are a few things in my life that I can point to as having monumentally changed it 1, As a child raised by a racist mother, seeing the movie Mississippi Burning for the first time I bawled my eyes out when I realized the extent of my ignorance of my black brothers and sisters and feeling utterly ashamed that I did not know about the civil rights movement Because someone I cared about had intentionally seen to it that I hadn t learned about it Because watching Roots wasn t necessary , and b [...]


    Sam Honeycutt

    If someone wished to write an how NOT to, he she should follow how this book reads The is an book that reminds me that the President of the United State never let the word AIDS leave his mouth until a friend of his Rock Hudson died of it No one wanted to do anything about it as long as it was kept within the blacks, queers, and hemophiliacs As long as it was GRID it didn t matter.When they were told that it was bloodborne and there was a test for it, the American Red Cross didn t want to run the [...]


    Ayne Ray

    This landmark work is a detailed investigative report and eventual scathing indictment of the social and political forces that helped contribute to the tragic and rapid spread of the AIDS epidemic in its earliest years Twenty years later, it still stands as one of the most important books on its topic.


    Paul Bryant

    A great and compelling book, but somehow, even in Reagan s America, it s hard to go along with the conspiracy theorists who make out that the government was merrily fiddling away while Rome burned I mean, look at the response which people got when they wanted to close the bath houses.


    Charlene

    This is a great book to read in conjunction with Oshinsky s Bellevue, which details the history of medicine in general and includes a brief summary of the story told in this book It was great to be able to get the full story here Bellevue also touches on the ebola epidemic I highly recommend reading David Quammen s Spillover It was one of the most spectacular books I have had the pleasure to read.This book really reminded me of so many things about the aIDS epidemic that I had forgotten or was t [...]


    E. V.Gross

    Tremendously thorough, very engaging, heartbreaking and furious This was, sadly, a perfect book to read given the recent administration s demonstrated negligence and ineffectiveness in dealing with large scale crises Especially crises that are most devastating to vulnerable communities i.e everyone not white, cis, straight, Christian, male.


    E

    Shilts writes at the end of And The Band Played On that the book is a work of journalism and that there has been no fictionalization, yet goes on to state that he reconstructs scenes and conversations, albeit based on interviews and other research To me this process necessarily entails some degree of fictionalization, or at the very least, a departure from an objective history of AIDS in Europe and America Shilts can hardly be faulted for this given his professional and personal immersion in San [...]


    Sophie

    This book had been sitting on my shelves for years before I finally read it I remember reading a review back on LibraryThing, where someone described as one of the best pieces of non fiction they had ever read Since it was about a period and a subject I knew little about but was curious to learn , I got a copy But then, it just never was the right time I actually picked it up every so often but never managed to read than the first couple of pages This time, however, it was different Originally, [...]


    Elizabeth Finnegan

    A friend of mine loaned me this book in the late eighties, and it cut through the illogical and gimmicky rhetoric I was hearing about HIV AIDS in my late teens It is a book that emphasizes the need to take care of the sick and explains how our vanities and prejudices can prevent us for doing that Several years ago I saw this book laying amongst a pile of discarded books in the dusty hallway of a college A note had been posted above the pile which read Please take This book is too important to th [...]


    Lisa Gallagher

    My top 10 list of books consists of fiction and this I was in my 20 s and came across this book at a garage sale The title looks academic but there s nothing cold or dispassionate or removed about it The author small spoiler died not long after he finished this and you can feel the race against time he must have experienced, as you read it This story of a disease is really about people Health care practitioners, politicians, bureaucrats, epidemiologists, one famous Hollywood actor and a close kn [...]


    Graceann

    History isn t the best category for me to shelve this title, since the crisis continues, but it was the best I could do Randy Shilts has done a remarkable work of journalism here, and 25 years later, it still infuriates In 1981, when doctors first started noticing young men turning up in their offices with strange ailments that usually only afflicted the elderly, they pushed for a strong research backing to find out what was causing it Nobody lifted a finger or spent a penny in those early days, [...]


    Jeremy

    Brutal Just.etely and totally brutal Shilts weaves together a stunningly wide variety of people and perspectives, bouncing between the ramifications the early AIDS epidemic had on public health, public policy, medicial scientific research, blood banks, the gay community, government spending, media coverage, social stigma infinitum This book catalogs one of the great nadirs of modern American life a time when institutionalized apathy and indifference in almost every government and societal instit [...]


    Grumpylibrarian

    This book changed my life in the most literal sense imaginable.And The Band Played On forced me to become an practicing feminist and advocate for sexual and, far importantly, global health I readRandy Shilts tome for a Sociology of HIV AIDS course at University of Toronto in the summer of 2005, arguably one of the most popular and most difficult courses to get into on the undergraduate schedule The course was facinating and demanding We read Shilts book as a text and avoided technical writing [...]


    Karen

    This is a life changing book Like so many straight people, I had few contacts in the gay world when the AIDS epidemic began to take hold, and since as I now know, thanks to Shilts almost no major newspapers or media were following the story, it wasn t until the news broke about Rock Hudson that I began to understand what was happening Shilts fills in those gaps for everyone like me As the book progresses in its mesmerizing, chronological style, jumping from place to place, alternating personal s [...]


    Sara

    Absolutely blown away Longer review forthcoming.


    Adam Dunn

    I cannot seem to let go of every grain of detail, for each at some moment seems so important that I must scoop it up and slither it into my own voluminous vomit out The world must know everything The American People Volume 1 Search for My Heart A Novel Larry Kramer I wanted to like this book There are so many five star reviews for this book and I get that it is a product of the time period it was written but it seems fitting with this 20th Anniversary edition to also look at the book in its cur [...]


    Bryan Schwartz

    Magisterial and authoritative are words that appear too often in academic reviews Frequently employed to describe any monograph over 500 pages, both words have lost much of their intended meaning But to describe Shilts chronological history of the AIDS epidemic as anything less than a magisterial and authoritative tour de force would be a mistake While historians have since revised parts of his narrative, Shilts painstaking research on the people, agencies, and organizations that fought AIDS in [...]


    Chloe

    This book is the best piece of non fiction that I have ever read It is a striking and heartbreaking view on the AIDS epidemic in America, tracing the disease from unexplained outbreaks of KS to a full scale epidemic What I loved so much about this book is that Shilts wrote it as a piece of journalism He was not afraid to put emotion into his writing, and his feelings of frustration and anger would jump off the page He weaves profoundly personal and intimate moments with the broader, sweeping nar [...]



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