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A strange book-- exhaustively researched and detailed, yet written in the turgid, melodramatic style of an airport thriller. Possibly TOO detailed, it can frequently be tiring in its attention to the Randy Shilts. 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 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 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 more 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. Randy Shilts was born in , in Davenport, Iowa. One of the first openly gay journalists hired at a major newspaper, he worked for the San Francisco Chronicle for thirteen years.
Military 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. An impressively researched and richly detailed narrative. It is fascinating, frightening, and essential reading. A valuable work of political history. Its importance cannot be overstated. Reading Shilts, you wonder who will die next. You worry whether this terrible disease can ever be controlled.
And you begin to feel anger at what Shilts portrays as the federal government's dithering. Shilts has produced the best—and what will likely be the most controversial—book yet on AIDS. Though many of the details in the book are familiar to veteran reporters, Shilts does not shy away from naming names and casting blame. He writes with passionate conviction, which is one of the book's strengths—and also, of course, a sound reason for some skepticism.
It is at once a history and a passionate indictment. Continual Permutations of Action Anselm L.
PLENTY OF BLAME TO GO AROUND
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And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
By Randy Shilts. New York: St. Martin's Press. WE are now in the seventh year of the AIDS pandemic, the worldwide epidemic nightmarishly linking sex and death and drugs and blood. There is, I believe, much more and much worse to come. But great and lethal epidemics are never merely biological events, and never elicit merely biological or scientific responses.