Start by marking “And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic” as Want to Read: See 2 questions about And the Band Played On. The gay plague got covered only because it finally had struck people who counted, people who were not homosexuals. Upon it's first publication twenty years ago, And The Band Played on was quickly recognized as a Author interviews, book reviews, editors' picks, and more. See the Best Books of the Month Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the month in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries.
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And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic is a book by San Francisco Chronicle journalist Randy Shilts. The book chronicles the. And the Band Played On is both a tribute to these heroic people and a stinging Though many of the details in the book are familiar to veteran. In ''And the Band Played On,'' Randy Shilts, a reporter for The San It is at once a history and a passionate indictment that is the book's central.
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 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.
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. The National Institutes of Health, the Communicable Disease Center and others competed rather than collaborated, engaged in domestic and international wars for prestige and thus delayed progress. Medical journals delayed or rejected publications.
Public health agencies vacillated. Meanwhile, he notes, gay community leaders like everyone else! The mass media, meanwhile, yawned in indifference and shunned the story - until the movie star Rock Hudson died of AIDS in the summer of There are some troubles with this thesis, both in substance and in presentation.
In his appropriate rage over indifference and lives lost, Mr.
Shilts overstates the effect earlier intervention would have had. There would have been a major epidemic in any case because AIDS patients - unknowingly infected and capable of transmitting the virus for years before symptoms appeared - were steadily infecting others. Even an all-out early effort, given the state of knowledge, could not have stopped it. But this is only one of the five major stories Mr. Shilts is covering. There is the epidemiological story -the medical stumbling over clues, the exhausting tracking down and charting of cases.
There is the human story: There is the pain of their friends and lovers, the growth of fear in whole communities.
There is also the clinical story of physicians struggling both to treat and care for AIDS patients - desperately comparing notes, searching the medical journals, fighting for hospital beds and resources. There is the story of the scientific research that led at last to a basic understanding of the disease, the identification of the virus, the test for antibodies.
And, finally, there is the larger political and cultural story, the response of the society, and its profound impact on all the other aspects of the AIDS epidemic.
Shilts tells them all - but he tells them all at once, in five simultaneous but disjointed chronologies, making them all less coherent. In the account of a given month or year, we may just be grasping the nature of the research problem - and then be forced to pause to read of the clinical deterioration of a patient met 20 or 40 or 60 pages earlier, and then digress to a Congressional hearing, and then listen to the anxious speculations of a public health official and finally review the headlines of that month.
The threads are impossible to follow. View all New York Times newsletters. The reader drowns in detail. The book jacket says that Mr. Shilts - in addition to his years of daily coverage of the epidemic - conducted more than interviews in 12 nations and dug out thousands of pages of Government documents.
He seems to have used every one of them. Reading ''And the Band Played On'' sometimes feels like studying a gigantic mosaic, one square at a time.
Finally, and most disturbingly, there are people missing from the book: Shilts gives them a few paragraphs, no case reports, no personal or human accounts.
Not long ago, Dr. In alone, he told a small medical meeting, there will be more new AIDS cases than there have been in all the years from to the present. The city will need 2, to 4, hospital beds just for AIDS patients - with comparable and overwhelming needs for chronic-care facilities, social services, welfare assistance, nursing services and counselling. A majority of the anticipated tens of thousands of New York City AIDS patients will be black and Hispanic intravenous drug users, their sexual partners and their babies.
How, someone asked, will two more oppressed minorities move the nation, the rest of us, to provide the needed resources? There was a long pause.
Joseph at last said softly, ''we'll find out what kind of people we are, and what kind of people we want to be. That is its terror, and its strength. It was happening to people I cared about and loved.
In a telephone interview from a New York hotel where he was staying during a book tour, Mr. Shilts said his coverage of the AIDS story for the paper has been unusual, but not that extraordinary.
He has essentially devoted the last five years of his life to writing about the AIDS epidemic. Shilts said, ''the lead would be: In Nebraska the day before, he said he was going to San Francisco.