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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and disturbing read, 27 Aug. 2009
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"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.
Haemophiliacs were dying, patients were contracting AIDS from operative transfusions.
Still the wrangling went on.
For money, for kudos, for sexual freedom, for the hope of a Nobel Prize.
And all the while, people died.
Now, particularly in Africa, people are dying in their millions, this particular genie can never be put back into the bottle.
The band played on.................
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough, 2 Feb. 2006
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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9 of 9 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
4.0 out of 5 stars much better than the film, 12 Oct. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: And the Band Played on: People, Politics and the AIDS Epidemic (Paperback)
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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And the band played on, 25 Oct. 2006
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Mr. James Mullins (peterborough, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book and gives the full story of the start ..., 14 July 2014
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd recommend it to anyone who is interested in public health, 14 Sept. 2014
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This was one of these books I couldn't put down. I kept reading bits out to my partner. It is filled with valuable lessons and it is written concisely, with heart. It is about real people, some of whom are heroic and real events. I'd recommend it to anyone who is interested in public health, the politics of health funding, or research or anyone who is just interested in truth and the human condition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars UPSETTING READ FOR THE GENERATION WHO WERE THERE AND SURVIED, 18 Jan. 2014
I LIVED THROUGH THE EPIDEMIC AND HAVE REMAINED HIV NEG.MANY DEAR FRIENDS DIDNT MAKE IT.TO SURVIVE HAS CAUSED ME GREAT PSYCHOLOGIAL PROBLEMS AND DEPRESSION.TO ALL THAT HAVE LOST SOMEONE TO AIDS THIS BK WILL BE UPSETTING .ESPECIALLY LIKE ME U WILL KNOW THE CONDUCT OF HEALTH CARE PROFFESIONALS AND UNDERTAKERS DURING THIS PERIOD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a must for HIV doctors with an interest in history, 5 May 2011
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Birth of AIDS, 10 Jun. 2014
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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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And the Band Played on: People, Politics and the AIDS Epidemic
And the Band Played on: People, Politics and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts (Paperback - 27 Oct. 1988)
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