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And the Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic

And the Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic [Kindle Edition]

Randy Shilts
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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The pre-eminent chronicler of gay life. --The New York Times

Rivals in power and intensity, and in the brilliance of its reporting and writing, Truman Capote s IN COLD BLOOD. --The Boston Globe

A heroic work of journalism on what must rank as one of the foremost catastrophes of modern history. --New York Times

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A masterpiece of investigative reporting, And the Band Played On is the definitive history of the spread of AIDS throughout the USA in the 1980's. Randy Shilts was employed by the 'The San Francisco Chronicle' to cover gay issues in 1981, the year AIDS came to international attention, and from 1982 Shilts devoted himself to covering the story of the disease and its medical, social and political implications. Shilts asks: how was this epidemic allowed to spread so far before it was taken seriously? Extensively researched, weaving together the personal stories of those in the gay community and the medical and political establishments with political and social reporting, he exposes how AIDS was ignored, or denied, as a threat by many national institutions. And the Band Played On shows that the greatest health crisis of the twentieth-century spread wildly as the Federal government put its budget ahead of public health while scientists were often more concerned with maintaining their prestige than saving lives.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and disturbing read 27 Aug 2009
By Janjo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"And The Band Played On" is a book I missed when it first came out over twenty years ago. I read Randy Shilts "The Mayor of Castro Street" after having become intrigued by the life of "Harvey Milk" since seeing the excellent Sean Penn film "Milk" at the beginning of the year, and I was anxious to read anything else that he had written.
"And The Band Played On," is a reference to the musicians on the Titanic, who reputedly kept playing as the ship sank.
The book details how this was exactly the way the authorities behaved while people in their thousands were dying from AIDS.
This new disease, which in its early stages, was unknown to science, devastated the lives of not just the sufferers, but also of those that loved them.
As it was mostly gay men, and intravenous drug users who were affected,(not REAL people, not people who mattered), little money was found for research, and the scientists involved had to make do and mend, in the most outrageous way.
The whole subject was considered embarrasing, one not to be talked about, and still people were dying. Some members of the gay community were reluctant to face up to the fact that their behavior in "bath houses," the taking of multiple sexual partners, had anything to do with the spread of the disease, and saw any restrictions placed upon them as a breach of their human rights.
Still people were dying.
Then the scientists started to play politics with the research, the French at the Pasteur Institute who discovered the virus, were disbelieved until Dr Robert Gallo could confirm their work in the US.
A year was wasted, and still people were dying.
The virus contaminated the blood supply.
Still there was denial.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars much better than the film 12 Oct 1999
By A Customer
I enjoyed Shilt's book much more than I did the film. Although he can be criticised by professional historians from many angles, he does approach the issue of disease and American society from a perspective too long absent in medical history works. Shilts attempts to bring the patient into the history of AIDS continually. In fact, the best passages in the book are about the poeple who lived outside of the medical and political spotlights. Hollywood may have missed the point, but you can still read the book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential 29 Feb 2004
The beauty of this book is that you feel like you're there, living through one of the most significant periods of recent history. The personal stories of living with HIV/AIDS, the courage of those who were there at the start, the PWAs, the loved ones and the professionals (although many of these were not so courageous!) all provide for a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
I believe that this is an essential read for anybody who cares about the global impact that AIDS has had and continues to have. There are a handful of works that can change one's view of the world. This, for me, was one of them.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough 2 Feb 2006
By Nbk
This is a really thorough book. Charts the rise of AIDS with immaculate attention to detail and extensive research.
Unsurprisingly it is a sad story and reveals just how much government complacency and local business interests hampered the fight against AIDS.
It's very readable, so even though it's a big book, it is easy to get through.
The focus on the lives of various individuals important in the spread of/ fight against AIDS- scientists, politicians, the infamous "Patient Zero":
makes it more readable.
I read it for interest's sake, but it would be ideal for people studying the history/sociology of the AIDS epidemic in the USA.
Makes very little reference to the spread of AIDS outside of the USA after the opening chapters.
Other books on AIDS from a more personal perspective which would compliment this book well are:
P.W.A. by Oscar Moore and anything by David Feinberg, such as "Queer and Loathing" or "Spontaneous Combustion"
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And the band played on 25 Oct 2006
I read this book as it was recommended as a useful insight into the history of the AIDS epidemic and it's links to the gay community. It, however, is much more. As a nurse I have an obvious interest in the health aspect but politically and socially this is possibly one of the most important books written on a global epidemic. Randy Shilts uses all his journalistic nouse to conjur a piece by piece account which held me from the first page to the last and offers an insight into a piece of our history which should not have been allowed to happen
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Inteersting impression on the history of HIV in Europe and the United States, and all the political issues around dealing with this epidemic, almost unbelievable from today's point of view.
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great book and gives the full story of the start of the H I V Aids epidemic and how governments chose not to do anything about it.
The title And the band played on indicates that fact.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Birth of AIDS 10 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A fantasticly told story of one of the most horrific epidemics to have spread across the world. Heartbreaking and blood boiling all at the same time. Hard to put down
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding cronical of the epidemic that changed the world.
Every gay man should read this book.
Published 29 minutes ago by Charlie
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect transaction
All went as well as it could go with this order. No delay, item arrived in condition as described and I have no reason for complaint.
Published 2 months ago by Alma Abbs
Published 6 months ago by CENTRAL LONDON MAN
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening book
All about the start of the AIDS epidemic, increadbly interesting makes you realise the dangers of steriotypes and public perceptions
Published 13 months ago by chloe Barter
5.0 out of 5 stars Like walking back in time.
It is like walking back in time reading this book. So many mistakes and errors made, so apparently unable for the medical world and political world to work together to problem... Read more
Published 17 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and terrifying
I remember as a child my scientist mother telling me that gay men in San Fransisco were dying of a strange pneumonia and in my teens the increasing awareness of AIDS including the... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Ruth Price
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Shocking
I bought this as a sort of encompass-all guide to the birth of the AIDS epidemic as references to it kept springing up in LGBT literature I was reading and I only had the... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars And The Band Played On A Gripping and insightful book
After seeing the DVD of the film and throughly enjoying it. I wanted to read the book,it is a lot better than the film. Read more
Published on 20 July 2010 by Daniel Hefferland
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