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Saturday Is for Funerals Hardcover – 14 May 2010

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The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Botswana is explored with sensitivity and scientific rigor in this heartening book...This richly informative book dispels much of the mystery still surrounding HIV/AIDS, revealing how life goes on for those infected. Readers overwhelmed by (and even numbed to) the images of desolation that accompany coverage of the epidemic will find a realistic but optimistic assessment of a society successfully tackling the problem and a model for other afflicted nations. Publishers Weekly 20100315 The narratives provide a human touch and convincingly illustrate the tremendous impact of AIDS on women, children, infants, friends, family, and culture. While Botswana was hard-hit by the AIDS epidemic, it has provided a successful model for other countries by taking a proactive approach to dealing with the disease. -- Tina Neville Library Journal 20100501 A decade ago, the AIDS epidemic in the southern African country had gotten so bad that leaders feared its people were in danger of extinction; the World Health Organization estimated that 85 percent of 15 year olds would eventually die of the disease. Today, Botswana is the pride of Africa. The country's remarkable journey is detailed in Saturday Is for Funerals, a new book by renowned AIDS activist Unity Dow and researcher Max Essex. Weaving together personal anecdotes and medical history, the authors reveal how a combination of proactive government intervention, education, research, and foreign aid have achieved the near impossible...Bringing Saturday Is for Funerals to life--and distinguishing it from other books about AIDS in Africa--are its first-hand, often heart-wrenching stories of the epidemic's victims...[Dow] shares evocative stories of marriages torn apart by the disease, and saved through drug therapy, of tribal leaders encouraging circumcision to reduce infection, and of AIDS orphans. -- Danielle Friedman Daily Beast 20100604 Unity Dow, a judge of the Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court of Kenya, and Max Essex, a Harvard professor of health sciences, have worked at the Botswana-Harvard Partnership to control, contain, and curtail the HIV/AIDS epidemic that has devastated Botswana. In this informative book, they present the many difficulties they face--medical, cultural, psychological, and financial. -- Barbara Fisher Boston Globe 20100606 The epidemic of HIV and AIDS marching across Africa is threatening to crush entire countries under its weight. Saturday Is for Funerals tells the story of how one country, Botswana, is stemming the epidemic with bold political leadership, a strategic and scientific approach, and more than a little grit. -- Priya Shetty New Scientist 20100619 The book is compelling because it tells us the real stories of people living with HIV/Aids and the devastating effects it has on families. There are stories of deadly sexual betrayal and bitterness, but also resilience, caring and kindness...This hook is then used to engage the reader and explain the science behind the disease in a generally accessible way. It is a work of both literature and science and works brilliantly. -- Padraig Carmody Irish Times 20100702 A compelling look at the toll of AIDS in Africa and some hopeful developments. -- Vanessa Bush Booklist 20100501 Tragic and heartwrenching stories of victims, coupled with scientific explanations, are effectively woven into chapters on mother-to-child transmission, fear of diagnosis, AIDS in children, highly active antiretroviral therapy, drug resistance and toxicities, stigma, and orphans. The book comes at a critical time as news of HIV/AIDS "donor fatigue" makes headlines, and funding to battle AIDS in Africa is shrinking. This is very important reading for politicians, educators, students, and those seeking an education on humankind's greatest plague. -- P. Wermager Choice 20101001 Dow and Essex bring their distinct and complementary knowledge of HIV infection in southern Africa into a book that effectively depicts both the personal and the scientific facets of the Botswana AIDS epidemic...The science is competently explained in terms that a lay person could understand, and the combination works well, making this book a good introduction to the key facts about HIV/AIDS as well as a moving depiction of the individual tragedies this disease can inflict...This book would be worthwhile reading for people who want to learn more about the HIV epidemic but would never pick up a textbook or scientific article...In my view, this book should be compulsory reading for policy makers and leaders throughout Africa, who often appear to be unaccountably remote from the suffering of ordinary people in their countries. -- Sarah Rowland-Jones Nature Medicine 20101201 Unity Dow and Max Essex illuminate the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa by reporting on its consequences for the lives of those living in a single country, Botswana. Dow is a human rights lawyer and judge. Essex is an AIDS scientist at Harvard University. They have deployed their complementary experiences to examine multiple aspects of AIDS, dividing each chapter in half. Dow describes the personal stories of those affected by AIDS. She creates play scripts of conversation to situate the issue at hand--AIDS among children, access to medicines, fear and stigma, diagnosis--in a context that illustrates the intimacy and tragedy of the epidemic. Essex follows up with a scientific explanation of the preceding drama, together with his own reflections abpout what is being done to prevent such an episode from happening again. It is an effective strategy, drawing the reader into the particular culture of AIDS in Botswana, while showing what the global medical research enterprise into HIV can deliver for people who live in often excruciating poverty. -- Richard Horton Times Literary Supplement 20110107

About the Author

Unity Dow is a judge in the High Court of Botswana and the author of four novels. Max Essex is Lasker Professor of Health Sciences at Harvard University and has been involved in AIDS research from the earliest days of the U.S. epidemic in 1982.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I beat a personal time record when reading this book, I just could not put it down. This book humanised the issues of HIV in Botswana, a country with a high prevalence rate. This is such an easy read, you gain an insight into both the impact of the epidemic in families and society and a medical understanding of the virus. You can easily read and empathise with the collection of stories.

This is such a clever way of writing a book about HIV/AIDS, using many stories shows the complexities of how one comes to contract the virus and it dispels many common misconceptions, this books gives you understanding on so many levels.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
An interesting glimpse of the AIDS epidemic in Southern Africa 16 Aug. 2011
By simplexion - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book soon after it was released, and I appreciated learning about the AIDS epidemic from both a medical and a sociological point-of-view. The impact of HIV/AIDS, particularly in countries like Botswana, is all-encompassing. Max Essex is a forerunner in AIDS research, particularly in Botswana where the infection rates are somewhere close to 30%. The style of this book is written in two voices - Max Essex's and Unity Dow's. Max provides the scientific understanding of the disease, while Unity illustrates the consequences of the HIV/AIDS infection with faces and names. My favorite genre of books to read that of biographies/autobiographies. I like the way that Unity's human-interest stories alternate with Max's explanation of the research that has been done. At first I had some difficulty identifying who was 'speaking' and when - but the book becomes more fluid with each chapter. It is interesting how culture comes up against research and how, given the incessant deaths from the disease, Botswana culture has had to accommodate these new challenges and adapt accordingly. I work as an administrator in this field, and I found that this book greatly helped my understanding of my work. I was interested enough to read this book in a day or two, and the images still remain in my mind. It is not often that you encounter a book that appeals on so many levels - and imparts complex information without being condescending or pedantic. I have read some of Unity Dow's other work as well, and she has a fine, narrative voice. She captures the spirit of her culture so well that it is difficult not to pay attention. I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in learning more about the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
If you read one book about AIDS, this is the one 9 Aug. 2011
By kmd - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Saturday Is for Funerals is a moving collection of stories direct from those most affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Unity Dow writes honestly and clearly about the people in her life that have been touched by HIV, and Max Essex explains the science behind her stories in layperson's terms. The book brings to light the every day experience of many Africans in a way that you can't ignore. The scope of the epidemic should be understood by every person alive today and this book is a great start for those wanting to know more. It's a quick and informative read and covers a variety of topics, from the process of getting an HIV test to AIDS orphans. Highly recommended.
Beautiful portray of the burden of HIV/AIDS both in a narrative and factual manner 11 Dec. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The pairing of the experiences of both Dow and Essex concerning HIV/AIDS makes for a powerful illustration of the burden and suffering created by the disease. Not only informative, but heart-wrenching. Beautifully done. Not just a great read for those interested in Africa and global/public health, but can be easily read by the average audience as well.
Great Book! 1 Nov. 2013
By BaylorGirl15 - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
These authors have so much knowledge about this. The style of the book is perfect in helping the reader not only learn about the illness but also helping to relate to those with the disease and understand how HIV/AIDS affects more than just the body and those infected with it. A great read where you will learn much.
Great Book! Read it prior to visiting Botswana! 29 Jan. 2013
By Birke4 - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Helpful book on getting several points of view and cultural aspects prior to my visit. After visiting Botswana for nearly a month, I cannot believe the tragedy that HIV/AIDS has brought to Batswana.
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