And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic Paperback – 3 Nov 2011
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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
About the Author
Randy Shilts was a pioneering gay journalist who wrote for The San Francisco Chronicle where he was the first openly gay reporter with a gay beat in the US press. He was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1987 and died in 1994.
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"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.................
When I opened the book I was taken back by the small and not very nice font, but once reading I do not notice it. Perhaps start to even like it.
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