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The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels and the Business of AIDS Hardcover – 8 May 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books; First Edition edition (8 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847080006
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847080004
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 552,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Using vivid accounts from global frontlines, she shows how political correctness and backward ideology have helped AIDS spread.'
-- Arena

A fascinating and revelatory account...Pisani's style cuts through the jargon. -- Observer

Elizabeth Pisani's book packs a greater punch... the epidemiologist and ex-AIDs consultant's colourful anecdotes ... serve her cause well.
-- The Economist

Gripping and surprisingly entertaining account of the waste, fraud and jaw-dropping arrogance of the Aids industry. -- Sunday Times

Her book has freshness, charm and innocence, reminding us of the core elements...at the heart of this epidemic. -- Irish Independent

Her pursuit of the sexually extreme and her fluent prose make for an absorbing read.
-- Independent

About the Author

Elizabeth Pisani studied Classical Chinese at Oxford, and started her life as a journalist, working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters, the Economist and Asia Times. She has also written for the International Herald Tribune, the Financial Times, and other publications. She has a London MSc in Medical Demography and a PHD in Infectious Disease Epidemiology. She has worked in the field of HIV prevention for a decade, for organisations including UNAIDS, WHO and Family Health International.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. G. Lawes on 6 Nov. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Studying for a masters in medical ethics one frequently encounters learned articles that try to perform the laudable task of enlightening us to the crucial moral issues relating to the HIV pandemic. Research uncovers seriously complicated articles and thought processes, which are in turn, interspersed with references to even more learned journals, ascending from the erudite to the downright impenetrable. Complex philosophical arguments stem from the thoughts of some of the greatest minds on earth and you begin to wonder - what this has to do with what is happening on the kerb? Then like a light or a refreshing breeze someone else's voice permeates through. The voice speaks in plain English, is not overawed by inflated and grandiose titles and with the cheek of a good journalist asks the right uncomfortable questions. Just for a moment we are asked to stop making decisions based on the ideas that trickle downwards, and find the ideas that float upwards. Let's ask the very ordinary, sensible, resourceful, intelligent people that this epidemic is effecting what their views are. Unsurprisingly one discovers that they are very ordinary people who generally are doing what they do through force of circumstance not through any innate wickedness. "There but for the grace of God ....etc." They also have very straightforward ideas of their own as to the whys and wherefores, as well as solutions which they utilize. Irreverent and iconoclastic, but substantiated by facts, this was a refreshing expose of the self-perpetuating AIDS industry and a useful source of ideas. If you want to come up for air, this is the way to do it. Highly recommend for all, not just for academic study.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Africabookworm on 20 Jun. 2008
Format: Hardcover
This really is a page-turner, a compulsive read, which is an extraordinary feat for a book about the AIDS epidemic (and I speak as an 'insider' who is punch drunk with writing and reading about this topic). Pisani shoots from the hip, always, which is challenging and stimulating, but she always pins her arguments down with good quality and compelling data. Even when I was happy to find myself saying mentally, "Yes but..." (because it's nice not to feel you are being led by the nose by a good talker!) I found the author answering my queries, settling my doubts, a little further on in the text. I think it's a great book, and an important one -- it forces us to confront our failures in preventing the spread of HIV, so often because of squeamishness, prejudice or lack of courage to acknowledge who is really at risk and why, and unpreparedness to spend the huge dollops of money where it is most needed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David C. Hackney on 3 Jun. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Pisani is a rarity in that she is a scientist who can write! She is a former journalist turned epidemiologist (aka "epi")working in AIDs research amd prevention. Her book will interest not just those readers concerned with AIDs, but anyone who wants to understand the effect politicians, bureaucrats and competing NGOs(Non-government orgaizaions) have on public health. Often only scientists and academics can grasp the process and explanation of scientific research. Dr. Pisani explains it so clearly that the general reader will understand as well. However, she hasn't "dumbed down' the research process or data analysis. Through out this excellent book she shows a deep respect for the intelligence of her reader. No matter what opinion someone has regarding AIDs and its victims, this book will help improve understanding of the disease, its transmissions, the risks of being infected, and how its spread could be slowed or even stopped. The title may be shocking, but sometimes it take a shock to get many of us to pay attention. Buy this book! Once you start reading you will likely want to continue until you reach the final page!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By m. dosa on 5 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover
this book is written with passion and sadness,an amazing exploration of governments reaction to aids and the agencies it puts in place to combat it.it shows how the focus of the campaigns have changed over the years and how quite often government will ignore the people it employs to study and recommend effective action.it also is soul searching questioning the effectiveness of ngo,s etc at times a surreal book a startling read
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